‘Haitians are coming together to tackle the cholera crisis’: A UN Resident Coordinator Blog


“I visited a number of cholera therapy centres in essentially the most affected neighbourhoods of Port-au-Prince and noticed heart-breaking scenes; youngsters who had been so malnourished, it was troublesome to insert a drip into their arms or legs; adults who had been clearly very sick.

What instantly struck me was the extreme odor of chlorine disinfectant, which is used to sterilize the instant atmosphere, clearly an indication that the power is effectively run by well being professionals who know tips on how to stop and deal with the illness. I noticed workers frequently scrubbing the ground and surfaces to make sure that the cholera micro organism couldn’t unfold additional.

UNOCHA/Christian Cricboom

Ulrika Richardson (centre), the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Haiti visits a cholera therapy centre in Port-au-Prince.

I used to be deeply impressed and moved by the dedication and dedication of well being employees. I met many inspirational individuals who have embodied this professionalism, and who’ve additionally demonstrated humanity and big empathy with sufferers underneath therapy. Many have instructed me that Haitians are coming collectively to get by means of this troublesome time.

Sharp improve in circumstances

Up till just a few days in the past, the rise of cholera circumstances had been gradual however now we’re seeing a worryingly sharp improve, so the state of affairs has grow to be tougher.

It is very important do not forget that though cholera could be lethal, it’s preventable and treatable. Velocity is of the essence, to include an outbreak and save lives. I imagine the general public well being response from the Haitian authorities, native and worldwide NGOs, with the help of the UN, was instant and decisive, regardless of shortages of unpolluted water, and the gasoline wanted to supply energy to well being services and allow workers to get to work.

Cholera therapy centres had been shortly established to look after the sick. Haitian individuals have lived by means of cholera earlier than, so there’s knowhow and expertise that’s extraordinarily precious if we’re to forestall the outbreak from getting out of hand.

The lack of individuals to maneuver round freely, particularly within the capital Port-au-Prince, due to the prevailing safety state of affairs and lack of gasoline, can also have performed a component in containing the unfold, though this insecurity has additionally difficult the cholera response.

Haitian-led response

PAHO staff train community health workers on cholera identification and prevention.

PAHO workers practice neighborhood well being employees on cholera identification and prevention.

From day one of many outbreak, the UN in Haiti, with its nationwide and worldwide companions, has labored alongside the Ministry of Well being. The general public well being messages from the Ministry of Well being, on radio and through textual content messages, which the UN supported, have underlined the significance of preventative measures like handwashing and disinfecting.

The UN’s Pan American Well being Group (PAHO) has supported our companions to open 13 cholera therapy centres. Oral rehydration factors are additionally being established, notably in hard-to-reach communities, to deal with milder circumstances and refer others to in-patient services, whereas help has been offered to coach 300 neighborhood well being employees. These employees are essential, as so many communities are remoted as a consequence of armed gang violence.

UNICEF and the UN’s Worldwide Group for Migration (IOM) are supporting the Haitian authorities and associate organizations with chlorine, water- purifying tablets, hygiene kits and medical provides akin to oral rehydration salts. UNICEF, by means of its companions can be deploying cellular well being clinics in Cité Soleil, the capital’s most affected neighbourhood.

The humanitarian state of affairs in Haiti is determined for a lot of and cholera is only one urgent problem. Elevated starvation confronted by too many Haitians is one other nice concern that must be addressed. The World Meals Programme has resumed its distribution of meals inside Cité Soleil, reaching over 5500 weak individuals since mid-October.

Coordinator and troubleshooter

Because the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Haiti, my function is to facilitate the UN’s response in a approach to maximise our influence and guarantee all our information and experience successfully helps the Ministry of Well being’s cholera prevention and therapy technique.

This implies making linkages, whether or not right here in Haiti with nationwide entities or with totally different areas of the UN, in order that our mixed effort is bigger than the sum of its elements.

In actual fact, I’ve been impressed not solely by the fast mobilization of businesses and colleagues on the bottom but in addition by the eye and motion of essentially the most senior leaders throughout the United Nations.

A can-do perspective is important; when there are bottlenecks, for instance a scarcity of gasoline for therapy centres, I’m referred to as to assist troubleshoot the issue.

In the end, our shared objective is to work in direction of a cholera-free Haiti and because the newest outbreak, I’ve witnessed first-hand the UN’s dedication to the individuals of Haiti.

Since its creation, the United Nations and Haiti have shared a robust bond. Now’s as soon as once more the time for the UN and Haitians to return collectively to sort out this disaster in order that Haiti and its individuals emerge stronger and extra unified because the nation continues on the trail in direction of stability, equality and prosperity.

  • The UN Resident Coordinator
  • The UN Resident Coordinator, typically referred to as the RC, is the highest-ranking consultant of the UN improvement system on the nation stage.
  • On this occasional collection, UN Information is inviting RCs to weblog on points essential to the United Nations and the nation the place they serve.
  • Study extra in regards to the work of the UN in Haiti.

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