Le choléra est de retour en Haïti. Avec le début imminent de la saison des pluies, l’épidémie réapparaît. Thierry Goffeau, chef de mission de MSF France sur l’île, alerte sur un phénomène récurrent, qui a touché 535 000 personnes depuis deux ans et en a tué 7 000.
Les premiers chiffres dont vous disposez témoignent-ils d’une aggravation par rapport à l’an dernier ?
La semaine passée, on a traité dans nos centres 935 cas de choléra, contre 500 l’année dernière à la même période. Mais c’est aussi dû au fait que beaucoup d’organisations internationales ont quitté Haïti et que les financements sont en baisse. Du coup, les patients se tournent davantage vers nous. On peut aussi noter que le taux de létalité est en hausse : il était de 2,23 pour 100 cas en 2010, il est supérieur à 3 cette année.
Lt. Cmdr. Jim Hoeft said U.N. troops and national police officers set up checkpoints Sunday in Haiti’s capital and others parts of the country and detained two armed men in downtown Port-au-Prince wearing military fatigues. They were then taken to a police station.
The effort aims to discourage an illegal group of armed men from parading around Port-au-Prince in military uniforms as if they were on patrol. The lightly armed men have been seen directing traffic and even sweeping streets.
Whereas the first crisis was a natural disaster, the second — a massive outbreak of cholera — was man-made. Worse still, although the United Nations unwittingly caused the epidemic, the world’s largest humanitarian organization has disclaimed responsibility and has failed to address the legitimate demands of the thousands of Haitians affected.
In October 2010, U.N. peacekeeping troops stationed about 100 kilometers north of Port-au-Prince at a camp lacking basic sanitation facilities dumped human waste into a tributary of the Artibonite, the country’s largest river system. This set off what has become the world’s worst and fastest-spreading cholera epidemic, infecting over 500,000 people and killing more than 7,000.
Before late 2010, when U.N. troops arrived carrying pathogens from cholera-stricken Nepal, not a single case of cholera had been reported in Haiti for a century. Seven months after the outbreak, a U.N.-appointed independent panel of international experts released a report largely confirming what a number of epidemiological studies had already concluded: U.N. troops were the sole source of the disease. The report also found that the U.N. had failed not only to ensure proper sanitary waste disposal in accordance with its agreement with Haiti, but also to conduct adequate water safety tests or to take timely corrective measures when cholera exploded throughout the country.
Apparently the international community has decided that Haitians are a diseased people. Otherwise what else could explain the recurring rounds of vaccination of the last five years and the insulting sight of MINUSTAH soldiers wearing gloves to avoid skin to skin contact with the population? The latest round of vaccinations, supposedly against cholera, an acute intestinal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, is perplexing to say the least. Although it has killed thousands of Haitians since its introduction in Haiti by a contingent of Nepalese soldiers, the disease is highly preventable and treatable according to the World Health Organization (WHO) and other health experts.
Eliminate bacteria-human contamination rather than inoculate prospective victims would be the right course of action. Prior to the UN occupation (2004-?), the disease was practically non-existent in Haiti, even though 2/3 of the population did not have access to clean water. Assuredly the population had developed some immunity against the bacterium Vibrio cholerae that causes cholera, until the arrival of the Nepalese. Therefore, as carriers of the deadly strain of cholera that caused the outbreak (2010-present), the Nepalese soldiers are the ones in need of inoculation not the prospective victims who are henceforth exposed to adverse reactions from the vaccine.
That’s a big problem, but never more so than during a time of cholera.
Since cholera was introduced into Haiti 18 months ago – most likely by United Nations peacekeeping troops from Nepal, where the disease is endemic – more than a half-million people have gotten sick and at least 7,050 have died.
Public health authorities say cholera will stay in the environment for a long time, because Haiti has the worst sanitation in this hemisphere.
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, April 14 (Reuters) – The Haitian government along with international partners including the World Health Organization launched a vaccination campaign against cholera on Saturday targeting 100,000 people in vulnerable areas of the impoverished Caribbean country.
The program was launched in the slum area of Cite de Dieu, in the Haitian capital, where health practitioners are going door-to-door to deliver doses to pre-registered recipients.
“I am very happy that I received the vaccine because now I will live my life with less anxiety,” Mariane Joseph told Reuters, after drinking the dose. “I have been waiting for this vaccine for a long time because we are exposed here to catching cholera.”
More than 7,000 Haitians have died of cholera since an epidemic broke out in 2010.
CORAL GABLES, Fla., March 12, 2012 — /PRNewswire/ — There is a new coffee coming to Florida that not only tastes great, but it does a great deal of good. Par Haiti/Pour Haiti™ (From Haiti/For Haiti), launched by Haiti Originale LLC, tastes great because this hand-roasted coffee is made with top-quality, all-natural 100 percent Haitian Arabica beans. It does good because the dollars generated by sales of the coffee help to increase income for Haitian farmers and workers while supporting reinvestment into the Haitian economy. Par Haiti/Pour Haiti coffee will launch in the U.S. in select Whole Foods Markets in Florida in March.
Haiti Originale was established following the devastating January 12, 2010 earthquake to provide a platform for sustainable development and create jobs in Haiti. Products marketed in partnership with internationally recognized consumer brands are identified with the Par Haiti/Pour Haiti logo, allowing consumers and market partners alike to recognize that the mere purchase of such products provides Haitian farmers and workers the dignity of employment. The Par Haiti/Pour Haiti program extends across many categories including apparel, artisan crafts, coffee, cocoa, rum and fresh produce.
In post-quake Haiti, deportees arriving from the U.S. must do more than reaclimate to their surrounding and establish new roots, but also contend with illegal detentions and the health hazzards within prison walls – hazzards such as cholera infections.
The Miami Herald recently highlighted the plight of Haitian deportees,raising questions about the Obama administration’s adherence to policy of seeking alternatives to deportation in light of signifcant health and humanitarian concerns.
Since co-founding Partners in Health (PIH) in the central Haitian town of Cange nearly 25 years ago, Dr. Paul Farmer has worked with Haitians to deliver medical care to underserved communities. As PIH enters a new era of collaboration in providing basic care while expanding opportunities available to Haitians, Farmer grapples with the significant challenges of health care reform in post-quake Haiti – among these the steady prevalence of cholera and waning public attention to Haiti’s arduous recovery.
For Farmer, appointed U.N. deputy special envoy to Haiti in 2009, his work in the county is an ongoing commitment, although he has recently expressed a dismal outlook on Haiti’s recovery. As construction progresses at the central Haiti site of PIH’s hospital in Mirebalais, Dr. Farmer looks forward to the facility’s opening within two years of the quake.
Click to hear Dr. Farmer discuss the subject and title of his new book: “Haiti After the Earthquake” (NPR)