A few weeks before the beginning of the rainy season [April to November], synonymous of resurgence of cholera in Haiti, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) visited more than thirty treatment centers spread across the departments of Artibonite, Nippes, South, East and North. Teams found that the quality of cholera treatment declined significantly in the last year due to funding shortfalls.
"Some of the staff at the cholera treatment centers have not been paid for several months" said Dr. Mamady Traoré, MSF deputy medical coordinator, who participated in the Artibonite assessment in late December 2012.
"Infrastructure and equipment are worn out because they haven’t been maintained and there are frequent shortages of medical supplies. As a result, hygiene precautions that are essential to limiting the spread of the disease are no longer enforced. Sometimes patients are left without treatment or must pay to obtain it. That is intolerable."
The situation is similar in the department of North, where an increase in mortality due to cholera is observed since late 2012. "The mortality rate exceeds 4% in certain treatment centers — this is four times the acceptable rate," said Joan Arnan, who was in charge of the evaluation conducted in February 2013.
"This reveals the shortcomings in treatment. Cholera is not difficult to treat if it’s done promptly. But sometimes there are only two nurses to manage 50 patients. That’s not nearly enough to ensure quality care."