Epidemic surveillance strengthened as reports of disease cases emerge
9 February, 2010 -- Intensive efforts are ongoing to detect potential disease outbreaks in earthquake-affected Haiti, and while there have been reports of acute respiratory infections and diarrhea, no outbreaks have been recorded.
The World Health Organization/Pan-American Health Organization is backing disease control efforts in different ways, including by supporting sentinel sites that are monitoring disease cases and sending medicines and other supplies. WHO is expected to send this week basic emergency medicines that can treat 705 000 people for the next month.
Cases of acute respiratory infections, acute diarrheal disease and tetanus have been reported without any epidemic characteristics up to now. The rainy season will increase morbidity rates for childhood diseases such as acute respiratory infections and diarrhea.
Trauma injuries, which were previously more than 20% of consultations, are slowly decreasing, but still represent more than 10% of cases.
Sanitation continues to be a major challenge of utmost concern. It is currently estimated that less than 5% of the needs for latrines is being met (one latrine per 50 people). This poses huge challenges for public health in temporary settlement sites.
Mobile clinics are being deployed in 250 spontaneous settlements as identified by the government. The Health Cluster subgroup on mobile health facilities highlighted the need to include epidemiological surveillance in the activities of the mobile clinics.
The Haitian central pharmaceutical store supported by WHO, PROMESS, has reorganized its warehouse to improve the efficiency of its operations and the capacity to provide medicines and medical supplies to health partners. The level of incoming and outgoing drugs is still very high.
- 22 containers of more than 200 types of medical supplies were received, including more than 1000 beds, over 200 stretchers and other items such as wheelchairs, crutches, bed sheets, blankets and pillows. 60% of the equipment has already been distributed.
- The warehouse is providing insecticide-treated bed nets (ITN) to hospitals, based on epidemiological and needs criteria.
- In collaboration with the Logistics Cluster, PROMESS delivered 1.5 tons of essential drugs on 4 February to Les Cayes and Jeremie. Port de Paix and Gonaive also received essential supplies over the weekend.