Following IsraAID’s extensive medical program since January 2010 and the recent establishment of its medical clinic in Leoganne, Haiti, the UN declared the IsraAID-TBT clinic in Leoganne as a Cholera Treatment Facility which would now receive patients affected by the epidemic.
As a result the Israeli, Canadian and local Haitian medical staff on the ground has been preparing the clinic by adding dozens of beds and equipping the clinic with additional medical supplies.
The clinic, which is fully funded by the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, has been operating a family clinic treating hundreds of earthquake affected population in the region of Leoganne since early September.
In the past few weeks the physicians have been providing training to local staff and communities in the region of Leoganne on the importance of maintaining proper hygiene and how to properly deal with the epidemic. The team is in constant contact with the local government, other international and UN aid agencies to coordinate the proper response to deal with the epidemic.
IsraAID executive director and founder Shachar Zahavi says that in response to a cholera epidemic that has claimed 1,250 lives since October the medical staff has been preparing the clinic for additional patients. Dozens of beds have been added, medical supplies have been brought in and the local staff has received training in the treatment of cholera victims. They have also gone out into the community to educate Haitians in how to avoid contracting the disease, which is caught by drinking contaminated water. "We’re starting to get referrals," Zahavi said. "Within a week to 10 days we expect that people will come in masses."
Nationwide, authorities are bracing for as many as 200,000 cases of cholera over the next six to 12 months.
Health officials have reported 64 new deaths in Haiti’s worsening cholera epidemic, which has claimed 1250 lives and seen more than 20,000 people treated in hospital. The ministry said 64 people have died in Port-au-Prince, including 20 children under age five, but the hardest-hit region remains Artibonite, where the first cases were detected in October. Efforts to contain the cholera – which can lead to diarrhea and dehydration that can kill within hours if untreated – have been hampered in recent days due to rioting in the capital, wher hundreds of people have clashed with UN troops they blame for importing the disease.
Zahavi says an international Jewish-Israeli staff under the auspices of IsraAID, its member agencies and the Negev Institute for Strategies of Peace and Development has been providing many forms of assistance to the population since the January earthquake hit Haiti. Volunteers from these organizations offer community programs on health, education, food production, microfinance and the empowerment of women in Port-au-Prince, Leoganne and Jacmel. The Leoganne clinic sends patients needing surgery or other advanced treatment to a hospital run by Doctors without Borders.