Project #6629

Help PIH Respond to Cholera Outbreak in Haiti

by Partners In Health (PIH)
Dec 8, 2010

PIH/ZL response to cholera outbreak - November 2010

CHWs demonstrate water purification for a crowd
CHWs demonstrate water purification for a crowd

Partners In Health/Zanmi Lasante's response to the outbreak of cholera in Haiti

A.    Treatment of Cholera Cases in the Lower Artibonite and Central Plateau

In the Lower Artibonite, the epicenter of the epidemic, PIH has established ten cholera stabilization/rehydration posts, two larger-scale isolation outpatient cholera treatment units (CTU), and two cholera treatment centers (CTCs). In the Central Plateau, PIH has established a CTC in Mirebalais and is supporting cholera care at three additional facilities (Lascohabas, Hinche, and Boucan Carre).

At the district hospital in St. Marc, PIH has strengthened infrastructure, staffing and systems in order to establish a cholera treatment center, with help from Medecins Sans Frontieres Spain. The hospital was triaging an average of 600 new patients each day until October 26 when a slight decrease in new patients occurred; now there is a regular load of 200-250 hospitalized cholera patients at St. Marc. PIH has established an emergency health center unit, particularly to care for non-diarrhea related illnesses running 24 hours/day at the outpatient clinic in St. Marc. PIH is providing administrative, supply chain and logistics support as well as coordination, food, lodging and transport of non-PIH volunteer medical staff at the hospital.

In addition to PIH’s three health facilities in the Lower Artibonite, PIH is also providing supplies to eight additional community centers surrounding St. Marc.  In remote areas, PIH has set up oral rehydration posts to supply patients with clean water and oral rehydration. For patients with more serious cases, who may be unable to be treated orally, stabilization posts are also being established.

To support this clinical care, PIH will hire additional clinical and support staff for up to six months. An estimated ten additional doctors and 29 nurses are needed to reinforce the medical teams in St. Marc, Petite Riviere, Brocozel, Grand Saline, Desdunes and Mirebelais and to establish oral rehydration stations and cholera stabilization stations in the surrounding areas. The cholera transition/stabilization tents will require additional clinical staff; the rehydration stations will be staffed by community health workers (CHWs) and auxiliary nurses. In addition to current staff, PIH anticipates hiring an additional 97 nurse auxiliaries and 125 CHWs. Because of the surge in inpatient care, PIH will expand our patient feeding program as well as purchase substantially more essential medicines and medical supplies. The following list depicts the number of hospitalized cholera cases at PIH facilities as of November 10, 2010.

Lower Artibonite

St. Marc

Cumulative number of hospitalized cases: 5,968

Cumulative number of hospitalized deaths: 76

Average number of hospitalized cases per day: more than 200


Petit Riviere

Cumulative number of hospitalized cases: 3,183

Cumulative number of hospitalized deaths: 42

Average number of hospitalized cases per day: 150


Cumulative number of hospitalized cases: 407

Cumulative number of hospitalized deaths: 10

Average number of hospitalized cases per day: 20

Central Plateau


Cumulative number of hospitalized cases: 2,734

Cumulative number of hospitalized deaths: 13

Average number of hospitalized cases per day: 30


Cumulative number of hospitalized cases: 546

Cumulative number of hospitalized deaths: 5

Average number of hospitalized cases per day: 20


Cumulative number of hospitalized cases: 256

Cumulative number of hospitalized deaths: 11

Average number of hospitalized cases per day: 50

Boucan Carre

Cumulative number of hospitalized cases: 33

Cumulative number of hospitalized deaths: 4

Average number of hospitalized cases per day: 8

B.    Community Outreach and Prevention of Future Cholera Cases

Community Outreach: Over the course of the six-month response, 2,000 CHWs will be trained to perform outreach in their communities in order to prevent future cases of cholera and refer those who need care for treatment. Already, hundreds of PIH community health workers and social workers have been mobilized to educate their communities and to distribute water purification tablets and oral rehydration salts. The areas where PIH has concentrated these efforts are those most affected by the outbreak:  Desdunnes, Villard, Sanoi, Pisto 2, Danache, L’Esther, Delandes, Savan Nan Woch, Labadie, Cannot, Gimel, and Bouji. PIH staff began training over 600 community health workers on community prevention of cholera today using a Creole training module developed by PIH. Topics include: helping cholera patients get care they need, preventing the transmission of cholera, decontaminating homes and properly disposing the bodies of those who have died of cholera.

PIH will continue to carry out community messaging in order to reinforce infection prevention, control, and mitigation measures throughout the Lower Artibonite and Central Plateau. To date, nine mass mobilization campaigns have been organized by PIH in collaboration with MSPP to quickly inform the population of the emergency. PIH has produced nine different radio messages in collaboration with MSPP, which are now being played on as many radio stations as possible. By driving trucks with loudspeakers playing community education campaigns about cholera, and tireless outreach to individual homes, schools, churches, and community gathering places, the team continues to spread the word of how to prevent cholera. PIH will mobilize existing CHWs and staff to use flyers, community meetings, and trucks with loudspeakers to inform the residents of the Lower Artibonite and Central Plateau about how to prevent and treat cholera.

Finally, PIH will conduct 200 “washing schools” to demonstrate to community leaders and school teachers who can teach others how to wash hands, purify water, and care for those who get sick. PIH will also distribute a simple version of cholera training manual for community leaders, school teachers and others who can provide training to larger numbers of people.

Distribution of Water and Cholera Prevention Kits: In October and early November, forty-two water trucks, each holding 1,200 gallons of potable water, have reached 15 communities in the region most affected by the outbreak. Permanent water filters have been installed at three communities, in partnership with Operation Blessing. The communities that have been reached by water trucks are: Bocozel, Pisto 1, Sanoi, Duvalon, Lacolline, Mirebalais, Verrettes, Petite Riviere Hospital (CCMC), Lamou, Robuis, Savan Nan Woch, Ditrijette, Preval, Carrefour Lavil, and Jean Denis.

However, trucking in water is not a sustainable response and so PIH has transitioned our efforts to training communities on how to treat water locally. We will establish 2,000 distribution centers in the homes of community health workers. These distribution centers will be stocked with “cholera” kits that each include 100 sachets of ORS, 216 Pur sachets, 250 aquatabs, 12 pairs of gloves, 21 bars of soap, 15 mosquito nets for pregnant women, many bottles of bleach and one body bag. These distribution centers will be located in communities along the river and its tributaries as the highest priority zones. PIH will establish an additional 500 distribution points at schools, churches or other community centers.

C.    Treatment and Prevention in Port-au-Prince

PIH supports health care in three camps of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in Port-au-Prince and provides care through a daily mobile clinic that travels to different sites in the city. Following the November 7 storm (Hurricane Tomas), living conditions at the camps have deteriorated. Standing water, mud, lack of garbage collection, and limited sanitation availability make the camps a potential flashpoint for cholera outbreak. To date, 529 cholera cases have been confirmed in Port-au-Price. In response, PIH continued its prevention campaign and set up two CTUs with 50 beds each in PJMV and Carradeax. PIH teams are carrying out intensive education and prevention campaigns with camp residents in the three camps where we have fixed health posts and are making preparations to manage and control any outbreaks that might occur.

I.              Conclusion

PIH is doing whatever it takes to contain the cholera outbreak and treat those who have been infected. We expect that this emergency response will ultimately cost just over $3 million; of this the USAID Office For Disaster Assistance will provide $1.5M million in emergency relief funds. However, many critical items from medicines to water filters are not covered by this funding and therefore a formidable gap remains. To date, PIH has received $832,974 in foundation grants and individual support to support our emergency response to the cholera outbreak.

A nurse provides IV re-hydration for cholera pat.
A nurse provides IV re-hydration for cholera pat.
New staff trained for new cholera treatment center
New staff trained for new cholera treatment center



About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Partners In Health (PIH)

Location: Boston, MA - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Laura Soucy
Annual Giving Coordinator
Boston, MA United States

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence


Woman Holding a Gift Card
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.