SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2016

Cholera treatment crippled in Haiti by lack of supplies, funds

A lack of funding and supplies is crippling cholera treatment in Haiti, according to a recent press release from medical humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders.

The group said the reduction in funding and supplies led to unnecessary deaths and raised the risk of further outbreaks during Haiti's upcoming rainy season, CaribJournal.com reports.

"Some of the staff at the cholera treatment centers have not been paid for several months," Mamady Traoré, the organization's deputy medical coordinator, said, according to CaribJournal.com. "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."

Deaths related to cholera increased in Haiti's North department since the end of 2012. The mortality rate topped four percent in certain medical centers.

"Sometimes patients are left without treatment or must pay to obtain it," Traoré said, CaribJournal.com reports. "That is intolerable."

In late 2012, the United Nations appealed for as much at $2.2 billion to fund Haiti's plan to eliminate cholera by the year 2022.

"Cholera now appears to be seen as a development issue to be resolved over the next 10 years, whereas the current situation still calls for an emergency medical response," Duncan McLean, the New York program manager of Doctors Without Borders, said, according to CaribJournal.com. "The necessary resources for such a response are becoming increasingly scarce."

Since 2010, Doctors Without Borders said its treatments had a mortality rate of less than one percent. The organization treated close to 200,000 patients in Haiti at a cost of $60 million since that time, CaribJournal.com reports.