Red Cross takes steps to stop Haitian cholera

The International Committee of the Red Cross has taken several courses of action to prevent a resurgence of cholera in Haiti after the epidemic that took the lives of 10 people a day in January.

As the cholera epidemic subsides, the government estimates that the daily death toll has dropped to three people per day. The ICRC has continued to promote preventive action in areas of detention and impoverished neighborhoods from January through March.

ICRC delegates made repeated visits to those held in detention and those in transit facilities to ensure people were being humanely treated. Delegates from the organization visited over 4,000 people in 17 places of detention between January and March. In these locations, the ICRC treated 275 detainees for cholera, six of whom eventually died.

The organization hired extra nurses locally to build up medical capacity in five places of detention while continuing to demonstrate proper hygiene practices to protect from cholera. The ICRC also delivered medicines, anti-cholera supplies, and hygiene and disinfection supplies to these detention locations.

The ICRC also gave support to the first aid services of the Haitian National Red Cross Society in Cité Soleil and Martissant. First aid workers took over 800 people to the hospital, 500 of them suffering from cholera. Volunteers from the Red Cross treated 1,200 injured people and spread information to over 25,000 people about cholera prevention and treatment.

The organization has also distributed many water purification tablets, attempted to connect children separated from their loved ones by the January 2010 earthquake and has promoted humanitarian principles among police and military forces.