With modeling exercises predicting an estimated 400,000 cases in the next 12 months and as many of half of those cases occurring in the next three months, International Medical Corps is working to expand its cholera response operations with new cholera treatment centers (CTC’s), oral rehydration points (ORP’s), and mobile clinics to cover additional underserved areas. International Medical Corps is currently running seven CTC’s in Artibonite and Les Cayes, where Cholera Emergency Response Teams have provided medical care to more than 7,578 cholera patients.
“The disease continues to spread at an alarming rate and we will continue to see a rise in cases as it spreads throughout the country,” says Dr. Jojo Cangao, International Medical Corps medical director in Haiti. “International Medical Corps will work to meet the increased case load through additional CTC’s while expanding our cholera education activities to reach new communities.”
The organization has already implemented CTC’s at hospitals in Verrettes, St. Michel, and Ennery in Artibonite region as well as two sites in Les Cayes, where patients are being administered IV solution, oral rehydration salts, and doxycycline to treat cholera and given water purification tablets. International Medical Corps plans to expand these services to Nippes and Archaie.
Its expansion strategy also includes a network of ORP’s, smaller treatment centers that will be positioned in hard-to-reach areas, as well as three mobile medical units that will serve extremely remote places in Artibonite cut off by rains, flooding, and landslides. These mobile medical teams will also train local medical staff, deliver supplies, and transport acute patients to hospitals, when needed.
International Medical Corps established oral rehydration points in all of its network of 13 primary health care clinics in and around Port-au-Prince, Petit Goave, Leogane, and Jacmel. Through these clinics, International Medical Corps will administer oral rehydration salts and will refer and transfer patients to higher level care as needed, making sure that severely dehydrated patients are given IV line before referring them.
When the outbreak was first confirmed, International Medical Corps trained all of its clinic staff in cholera prevention, identification, and treatment. These trainings have now been delivered to its team of 29 doctors and 95 nurses working in primary health clinics and Cholera Treatment Centers throughout Haiti.
In addition to medical staff training, International Medical Corps has also reached approximately 11,600 people in churches, schools, camps, orphanages, and communities with information on cholera and continues to expand its cholera education campaign through its network of 320 Community Health Workers as well as other social networks such as the Boy Scout leadership, religious congregations, and community organizations, including teacher associations.Infectious disease specialists have also been deployed and are now working with hospitals in Artibonite on medical waste management and infection control.
International Medical Corps has extensive experience in cholera outbreak response, management, and prevention, with its most recent responses in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Iraq. Clean water, sanitation, and hygiene are also one of its top organizational priorities, with such programs in countries including Haiti, Somalia, Kenya, and the DRC.