News / Americas

Health Workers in Haiti Fear Spike in Infectious Disease

Dr. Megan Coffee examines a patient named Stanley who has tuberculosis at Port-au-Prince Hospital
Dr. Megan Coffee examines a patient named Stanley who has tuberculosis at Port-au-Prince Hospital

Multimedia

Jeff Swicord

Port-au-Prince General Hospital is the largest hospital in Haiti.  Some of its buildings were damaged during the earthquake, but with the help of international medical organizations it has remained open.  On any given day, more than 300 patients arrive looking for care.  More than two months after the quake, doctors are seeing less of the crush injuries they saw right after the earthquake.  Now, as the rainy season begins, they're concerned about infectious disease.

Dr. Megan Coffee is an infectious disease specialist from California. She has spent the past two months volunteering at Port au Prince General Hospital.

She's concerned about the likely spread of infectious disease in Haiti.  She said the medical needs of the population have changed since the January earthquake.

She said doctors rarely see the cuts, crushed limbs, and broken bones that were common early on.

"These tents use to be all orthopedic injuries, all people who had been injured in the earthquake," said Dr. Coffee.  "Now some of them are post-op patients, post surgical patients. Some are still patients remaining from the earthquake."

With the rainy season beginning and much of the population in closely confined spaces in tent cities, health workers are on the lookout for infectious and water-borne diseases.

"The problems of typhoid and malaria are going to grow with tent cities, with people who don't have the best sanitation, and, having sitting water which is the cause of both those diseases," Dr. Coffee added.

Tuberculosis, a highly contagious respiratory disease, is another concern. Of the 300 patients who come to the hospital each day, about 4 have tuberculosis.  

Stanley is one of them.

"[Stanley] came in with tuberculosis that had filled up his entire left lung, and had also started to fill up his heart," explained Dr. Cofee.  "He came in quite ill, basically unable to breath and needed to have a tube put in to drain the fluid."

Dr. Coffee says in Haiti, patients often wait until a condition reaches a crisis stage before seeking treatment. And that makes recovery more difficult.  

"It is really important for people like him to be able to be treated," she added.  "Because otherwise, if they were to go home without full treatment, they would be quite infectious to all of their neighbors."

Stanley has been in the hospital for two months. Half that time was spent with tubes in his chest.

Dr. Coffee says there's no way to tell if malaria, typhoid, and tuberculosis are on the upswing since the earthquake. But with the rainy season looming, they could spread quickly.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL 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.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Judge Criticizes Argentina for 'Half-truths' at Hearing

US District Judge Thomas Griesa orders nation to stop making misleading public statements, 'half truths' concerning status of their debts
More

US House Passes Border Security Bill

Measure passes 223 to 189, though the Senate is not expected to consider the bill
More

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

Program gives street kids not only food and safety, but a chance for a better life without crossing US border
More

US Senate Kills Immigration Bill, House to Vote Friday

Earlier Thursday, Republican-led chamber abandoned plans to vote on $659 million bill that addresses influx of more than 57,000 unaccompanied Central American children
More

Argentina Defaults Again on Debt

Negotiators failed late Wednesday to reach an agreement with New York investment companies to avert the default
More

Cameroon’s Coffee Farmers Blame Government for Production Drops

Cameroon's growers, dealers and experts mourn declines in a nation that once ranked 12th in the world.
More