News / Americas

Health Care Officials in Haiti say Cholera Easily Treated

Nigerian-born Dr. Chibuzo Okonta with Doctors Without Borders attends to a patient in Port-au-Prince
Nigerian-born Dr. Chibuzo Okonta with Doctors Without Borders attends to a patient in Port-au-Prince

Multimedia

Jeff Swicord

The death toll from the cholera epidemic in Haiti is now nearing 1,200 and more than 18,400 people have been hospitalized since the waterborne disease was first reported in October.  Health care officials are trying to explain to Haitians how to treat it.

Toto Pierre does not know how his young son got sick, but he is happy he is alive and doing better.

"His sister was taking care of him," said Pierre.  "All of a sudden he got sick.  First we went to the hospital and then we came here."

Doctors have treated more than 20,000 cholera patients at 21 centers around the country since the epidemic began.

Stefano Zanini is the chief of mission for Doctors Without Borders. He says it is difficult to predict when the epidemic will peak, but he expects it will continue for several more months.

"We are predicting for example the peak in City Sole, the very poor slums in the north of the capital city between 26 and 29 of November," said Zaini.  "And in another one, two, three weeks, we will probably reach other peaks in other parts of the city and the country."

Medical experts believe the epidemic began as a waterborne bacteria in the Artibonite region north of Port-au-Prince.  Cholera bacteria are spread through fecal contamination, poor hygiene and lack of sanitation.  The bacteria induce severe diarrhea and vomiting.  Victims can die from dehydration in hours.

Health workers say one of the biggest problems they face in Haiti is that people do not understand what cholera is or how it is spread.  We visited this street in downtown Port-au-Prince where people come to get city water.  This water had a foul odor to it.  Getho Landele told us he will bathe, clean and cook with it.

"I am not afraid of getting cholera, but for me it does not exist," he told us.

City officials have asked residents to treat the water they use, and they have distributed treatment tablets to the public.  But many residents like Marie Santilia do not have the tablets and cannot afford bottled water.

"I am afraid, but I have to use it," she said.

Nigerian-born Dr. Chibuzo Okonta with Doctors Without Borders says cholera is easy to treat and people die because they do not get treatment fast enough.  

First patients are given a special rehydration solution to drink, then saline solution intravenously.  

"And as soon as people can get to the treatment center and get the oral rehydration therapy, it is all they need.  And once they are well rehydrated, they are as good as new," said Dr. Okonta.

Doctors say, on average, patients are better in three days. Fritz Pierre was at a party at a local hotel.  After eating some meatballs he began to feel sick.  First he went to the hospital, then the cholera treatment center.  After two days of rehydration therapy he is feeling better.

"I told the doctor I was feeling better and he told me if I feel like it I can go home," he said.

Dr. Okonta says his facility has treated 100 patients a day and there have been no deaths here in the last few days.  He told us, hopefully public information campaigns to seek treatment quickly are finally working.

You May Like

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Head of Mexican Cartel Appears in US Court

Juan Francisco Saenz-Tamez was arrested by US federal agents while shopping in Texas
More

Egypt Sets Appeal Date for Al Jazeera Journalists

Journalists were convicted in July on charges of aiding terrorist organization in verdict condemned internationally
More

Canadian Soldier Dies in Car Attack Linked to Radical Islam

Police shoot and kill driver - suspected Islamic radical - after he rammed into two soldiers Monday in parking lot in Quebec province
More

UN Rights Chief Urges Venezuela to Free Opposition Leader

Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein calls for release of Leopoldo Lopez and scores of others detained in a crackdown on protests that began in February
More

Brazil's Lula Back Campaigning for Rousseff - and Maybe Himself

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva remains the one true rock star of Brazilian politics, introduced to adoring crowd of thousands over weekend as 'our eternal president'
More

Former Chilean Mayor Arrested for Pinochet-era Human Rights Crimes

Cristian Labbe, a retired colonel who later served as mayor of Providencia, is a subject of probe into rights violations, a government spokesman said
More