For the Media

Posted on 01/01/10

For Immediate Release
Friday, December 10

Media Contacts:   Meredith Eves, 617-998-8945, ([email protected])
                                 Andrew Marx, ([email protected])

Drs. Paul Farmer, Louise Ivers and Fernet Léandre Call for a Change in Strategy and Increased Resources to Slow Cholera Outbreak in Haiti and Beyond in Press Conference Today

Article published in The Lancet calls for five specific interventions

BOSTON – Dr. Paul Farmer, a co-founder of Partners In Health (PIH) and Chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Louise Ivers, PIH’s Chief of Mission in Haiti and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Dr Fernet Léandre of PIH’s Haitian partner organization, Zanmi Lasante, hosted a press conference call today to discuss the cholera outbreak in Haiti and call for a more aggressive and comprehensive strategy to combat the disease.

Listen to a recording of the December 10 media call on the player below:

Download the MP3 recording of the media call.

Please see below for key quotes from the press call:

Key quotes:

Treatment of Cholera Outbreak with Antibiotics and Vaccine: “We wrote this piece in an effort to improve the quality of discussion about what could and should be doing in Haiti to slow down the cholera outbreak.  We want to raise the bar.  In our view, treatment of cholera in Haiti must be much more aggressive – more specifically, rehydration alone without antibiotics is not adequate for even moderate cases of cholera.  We are arguing for antibiotics for all who are showing cholera symptoms. It is important that we bring a vaccine into the mix as a complimentary tool as well,” said Dr. Paul Farmer.

Availability of Vaccine: “Based on our discussions with experts, there are potentially 2 million doses of the cholera vaccine available.  In the face of a regional, long-standing epidemic, it does not seem too much to ask to start ramping up that effort to make available significantly more doses of vaccines.  I would have expected more engagement on some of these tough logistic questions – how do we have the vaccine, how do we distribute it, make it more available, etc,” said Dr. Paul Farmer.

Status of Cholera Outbreak in the IDP Camps: “We are providing health care in three camps for internally displaced people in Port-au-Prince, including one of the largest camps, Parc Jean-Marie Vincent, with more than 51,000 people.  We started to see sporadic cases turn up in this camp as Hurricane Tomas passed but now we are seeing a steady stream of patients and we’ve established a 50-bed cholera treatment unit (CTU).  Interestingly, many of the patients are coming from outside of the camps, from the neighboring slums.  The water and sanitation situation in the camps remains dire; in Parc Jean-Marie Vincent there are 200 latrines for 51,000 people, which means the vast majority of people are using buckets or just an open area in the corner of the camp and there remains a very high risk of the further spread of the disease in the camps and elsewhere,” said Dr. Louise Ivers.

Challenge of Cholera Outbreak in Remote Rural Communities: “We are seeing more and more cases in mountain areas, remote areas where it can often take more than 10 hours to reach them. People in these communities lack access to health care, to clean water and sanitation. They cannot be reached by ambulances. The key to reaching them is strengthening the network of community health workers, who have enormous solidarity value in responding to an outbreak of a stigmatized disease and educating communities on water, sanitation, and prevention. It is very important to reinforce water and sanitation in rural areas, besides building latrines to discourage people from drinking from rivers and irrigation canals,” said Dr. Fernet Léandre.

Need for Active Case Finding and Community Health Workers: It is really important that we do active case finding and not just wait for patients to show up.  There are significant logistical challenges when it comes to moving around in Haiti, especially with the recent political unrest.  We suspect that we are not yet finding the real burden of disease and community health workers will continue to play a big role here,” said Dr. Paul Farmer. 

Public Sector Engagement: “You can’t do public health without a public sector.  You can’t do public water without a public sector.  You can’t do public education without a public sector,” said Dr. Paul Farmer.

Combating Cholera Worldwide: “Two hundred thousand people die every year of cholera. Can we take advantage of the interest people have in Haiti to raise awareness that the issue of cholera is not just one today, this week, this month. Cholera is a killer throughout the year and around the world,” said Dr. Louise Ivers.

Dr. Farmer, Dr. Ivers, and Dr. Léandre are co-authors, with Dr. Charles-Patrick Almazor, of a piece published today in The Lancet entitled Five complementary interventions to slow cholera: Haiti. These interventions include several that have been deliberately excluded or severely underfunded in the response to date — use of oral cholera vaccines, antibiotic therapy, and large-scale investments in infrastructure to improve access to clean water. The authors argue that an integrated model of prevention and care – similar to the model that has halved the size of Haiti’s AIDS epidemic in the past 15 years – is essential in this dire and deadly emergency. They call on global health authorities and funders to move swiftly and aggressively, and to move beyond age-old divisions over roles of “prevention” and “care” to save lives.

PIH has rapidly strengthened cholera treatment capacity at all of our sites in the rural Lower Artibonite and Central Plateau where the outbreak began. We are also carrying out intensive education and prevention campaigns and have set up a separate Cholera Treatment Unit (CTU) to provide care for patients in Parc Jean-Marie Vincent, the largest of the settlement camps where we work in Port-au-Prince.

About PIH: PIH works in 12 countries around the world to provide quality health care to people and communities devastated by joint burdens of poverty and disease. PIH has been providing vital health care services in Haiti for more than 20 years and is the largest health care provider in the country, working with the Haitian Ministry of Health to deliver comprehensive health care services to a catchment area of 1.2 million across the Central Plateau and the Lower Artibonite Valley. PIH had 5,000 staff in Haiti before the January 12 earthquake. 


For Immediate Release
Friday, November 12

Media Contacts:   Meredith Eves, 617-998-8945, ([email protected])
                                 Andrew Marx, ([email protected])

Partners In Health’s Chief of Mission Says Cholera Cases are Increasing, Warns of Personnel and Supply Shortages  

BOSTON - On a press conference call earlier today, Partners In Health’s Chief of Mission in Haiti Dr. Louise Ivers updated the media on the status of the ongoing cholera outbreak in Haiti and PIH’s response. She reported that the situation has taken a dramatic turn for the worse, with clear signs that the outbreak has spread to the crowded slums and settlement camps in Port-au-Prince. According to the latest report from the Haitian Ministry of Public Health and Population, a total of 12,303 people have been hospitalized and 796 have died since the outbreak began.

On Monday, Partners In Health and our Haitian partner organization Zanmi Lasante (PIH/ZL) saw seven cases with classic clinical symptoms of cholera at Parc Jean-Marie Vincent, the largest of the four settlement camps in Port-au-Prince where we have been providing medical care since the January 12 earthquake. Since then dozens of additional cases have been treated at the Cholera Treatment Unit (CTU) in the camp, many of whom had come from the slums of Port-au-Prince outside the camp.

Meanwhile, PIH/ZL continued to see increasing numbers of patients with cholera in the Artibonite and Central Departments outside the capital. A total of 7,159 patients have been hospitalized in our facilities in the Artibonite/ Central Plateau. Dr. Ivers reported that flooding caused by Hurricane Tomas led to a sharp increase in the number of cholera patients at the hospital in St. Marc, from 125 cases a day to over 200. A growing number of cases is also being reported from communities in the Upper Artibonite, outside the area around St.-Marc where the outbreak began in October. PIH operates the hospital in St.-Marc and two other facilities in the Lower Artibonite in partnership with the MSPP.

Listen to a recording of the November 12 media call on the player below:

Download the MP3 recording of the media call.

Please see below for key quotes from the press call:

Louise Ivers on Human Resources: “Human resources in Haiti are always a challenge in healthcare – existing medical staff are exhausted. Cholera is quite a simple disease to treat, unfortunately there is not a lot of experience and institutional knowledge in Haiti. Setting up the right systems and getting treatment started requires mentorship and this type of supervision takes a lot of time. There is also a chronic shortage of qualified nurses in Haiti.”

Louise Ivers on Sanitation: “Access to latrines remains very limited in both rural Haiti and in urban slums. Prevention of transmission of cholera requires not just messaging but access to the needed supplies and facilities to enact the messages. In addition to the vulnerability of communities outside IDP camps, 521 out of 1356 IDP camps (over 250,000 IDPs) in Port au Prince had no water or sanitation agency according to a recent WASH cluster report.”

Louise Ivers on Materials: “Although PIH/ZL has not yet had stockouts of medical consumables, the rate of use of supplies is very rapid. Lack of quick availability of some materials such as tents (to house patients) slows progress in establishing CTUs. As the number of cases expands exponentially there are likely to be shortages.”

About PIH: PIH works in 12 countries around the world to provide quality health care to people and communities devastated by joint burdens of poverty and disease. PIH has been providing vital health care services in Haiti for more than 20 years and is the largest health care provider in the country, working with the Haitian Ministry of Health to deliver comprehensive health care services to a catchment area of 1.2 million across the Central Plateau and the Lower Artibonite Valley. PIH had nearly 5,000 staff in Haiti before the January 12 earthquake.

 


For Immediate Release

Friday, November 12

TODAY AT 3:15PM EST: Partners In Health Chief of Mission in Haiti to Hold Press Conference Cal to Discuss  Post-earthquake Cholera Outbreak in Haiti

The number of new cholera cases and the death toll have both risen sharply in recent days. Roughly 1,000 new cases have been reported each day this week.  The disease has been confirmed among nearly 200 people in Port-au-Prince, and there is great concern that the disease will spread rapidly among more than a million people who have been living in overcrowded settlement camps with limited access to clean water and sanitation since the January earthquake.  More than 700 people have died and more than 11,000 have fallen ill since the epidemic first began in October. 

PIH has seen dozens of cases in Parc Jean-Marie Vincent, the largest of the four settlement camps where we work in Port-au-Prince.  Our teams are carrying out intensive education and prevention campaigns with camp residents and have set up a separate Cholera Treatment Unit (CTU) to provide care for patients. Outside the capital, PIH is rapidly strengthening cholera treatment capacity at all of our sites, as the number of new cases is increasing in the Artibonite and Central Plateau. 

Other highlights of recent updates from PIH staff in Haiti include:

  • In Port-au-Prince, we are seeing a steady stream of cases with classic clinical symptoms of cholera. Of the first 32 patients seen at the CTU in Parc Jean-Marie Vincent, many had come from outside the camp. PIH is directing medical operations at the CTU. The British Red Cross is taking responsibility for water and sanitation.  
  • In the Central Plateau, a Cholera Treatment Center has been established in Mirebalais and is being operated jointly by the Haitian Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP), Partners In Health, and a Cuban medical team, with support from Medishare and J/P HRO (Jenkins Penn Haitian Relief Organization.)
  • In the Artibonite Valley, an increasing number of cases is being reported from communities in the Upper Artibonite, outside the area around St.-Marc where the outbreak began in October. PIH operates the hospital in St.-Marc and two other facilities in the Lower Artibonite in partnership with the MSPP.

To call in to the media conference call:

DIAL: (US) 1 (800) 640-0097 or (International) 1 (847) 944-7321 then give the confirmation number: 28431915  

WHO:   PIH Haiti Chief of Mission Louise Ivers M.D., M.P.H. and Ted Constan PIH Chief Program Officer

WHAT: Press conference call with Partners In Health to discuss the cholera outbreak in Haiti

WHEN: TODAY, November 12 at 3:15 pm EST

RSVP, CONTACT or QUESTIONS:  Meredith Eves, 617-998-8945, [email protected]

About PIH: PIH works in 12 countries around the world to provide quality health care to people and communities devastated by joint burdens of poverty and disease. PIH has been providing vital health care services in Haiti for more than 20 years and is the largest health care provider in the country, working with the Haitian Ministry of Health to deliver comprehensive health care services to a catchment area of 1.2 million across the Central Plateau and the Lower Artibonite Valley. PIH had nearly 5,000 staff in Haiti before the January 12 earthquake.

 


For Immediate Release
Monday, November 8

Media Contacts:   Meredith Eves, 617-998-8977, ([email protected])
                                Andrew Marx, ([email protected])     

Partners In Health: Update from Haiti – Monday, Nov. 8

To the great relief of all, Hurricane Tomas passed by Haiti over the weekend with less destructive force than had been feared. However, heavy rains greatly exacerbated miserable conditions and heightened cholera risks throughout Haiti.

Partners In Health / Zanmi Lasante (PIH/ZL) staff remained at their posts despite the storm and continued activities in the Artibonite, the Central Plateau and Port-au-Prince. This included staffing and support of cholera treatment centers, as well as crucial primary health care, nutrition programs and HIV/TB programs. 

  • In Port-au-Prince, living conditions at the camps of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) served by PIH/ZL, have deteriorated as a result of the storm. Standing water, mud, lack of garbage collection, and limited sanitation availability make the camps a potential flashpoint for cholera outbreak. There is growing concern around 7 suspected cholera cases in Parc Jean-Marie Vincent (PJMV) -- a sprawling settlement camp of people displaced by the earthquake where PIH/ZL provides health services—and additional suspected cases in the nearby Cité Soleil section of the city. In response, PIH/ZL continued its prevention campaign and set up a cholera stabilization center at PJMV in collaboration with the Red Cross.
  • In the Central Plateau, more cholera cases continue to appear, with PIH/ZL-supported facilities there reporting 111 cholera cases hospitalized. To address and restrain the spread, training of community agents on cholera continues and a further 153 community health agents were training in Hinche on November 6. In Mirebalais, a fully functional cholera treatment center opened today, November 8.
  • In the Artibonite Valley, the epicenter of the cholera outbreak, PIH/ZL continues to support facilities in St. Marc, Petite Riviere, and Verrettes. Before the storm's arrival, the Haitian Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation reported 442 deaths and 6,742 cholera patients hospitalized throughout Haiti’s Lower Artibonite and Central Plateau regions.

Hurricane Tomas complicated treatment efforts at these facilities by forcing the evacuation of patients from tents into solid structures. Cholera patients are now being returned to restricted treatment areas and off-site locations for cholera. 

The PIH/ZL logistical team is also providing a large volume of support in the form of medical supplies to 16 additional medical centers throughout the Artibonite Valley. As a result of their tremendous efforts, no PIH/ZL supported facility has experienced stock out of the supplies required for cholera treatment.

Amidst this progress the PIH/ZL team remains alert. Reports indicate that rain waters have forced a key hydroelectric dam on the Artibonite River in the Dominican Republic to release pressure, thus sending down a large volume of water. This release will affect communities all along the river in the Central Plateau and Artibonite--areas that suffered severe damage from flooding caused by a series of hurricanes and tropical storms in 2008.

About PIH: PIH works in 12 countries around the world to provide quality health care to people and communities devastated by joint burdens of poverty and disease. PIH has been providing vital health care services in Haiti for more than 20 years and is the largest health care provider in the country, working with the Haitian Ministry of Health to deliver comprehensive health care services to a catchment area of 1.2 million across the Central Plateau and the Lower Artibonite Valley. PIH had nearly 5,000 staff in Haiti before the January 12 earthquake.

 


For Immediate Release
Monday, November 1

Media Contacts:   Meredith Eves, 617-998-8945, ([email protected])
                                 Andrew Marx, (
[email protected])

Partners In Health: Cholera Update from Haiti – Monday, November 1

With Hurricane Tomas looming in the Caribbean, Partners In Health is focusing its efforts on storm preparations in conjunction with its work to treat and control the outbreak of cholera.

Experts are predicting that Tomas will hit the southern coast of Haiti as a Category 2 hurricane on late Friday or early Saturday morning, bringing strong winds, flooding, and mudslides. PIH expects that the storm may exacerbate transportation issues into and within the Artibonite region—the area hit hardest by the epidemic. PIH is already preparing to move extra supplies from PIH’s warehouses in the Central Plateau and Port-au-Prince to ensure that the 16 health centers supported by PIH remain stocked in the event that the roads become impassable.

Even now, road access is already one of the main challenges to addressing the cholera outbreak, both for patients trying to access health facilities, and for PIH teams trying to bring supplies and community outreach campaigns to remote communities. Over the weekend, PIH and the UN spent hours attempting to reach a health center in the mountainous Poste Pierrot district, where 18 deaths from cholera have been reported. After the off-road vehicles failed, medical supplies had to be delivered on foot and by donkey, reported PIH Chief of Mission Dr. Louise Ivers. A UN helicopter is scheduled to bring additional supplies and staff to evaluate the community tomorrow. 

Last week, PIH’s community outreach team discovered another remote village in dire need of help, said Dr. Ivers. Isolated by a road too muddy for cars to traverse, the community of Grand Saline’s only water source was the cholera-contaminated Artibonite River. PIH quickly coordinated with the UN to helicopter in emergency supplies and community outreach staff. The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) plans to begin repairs to the road today, with supplies from PIH and the local mayor.

Other highlights:

  • As of Sunday night, the cholera outbreak has hospitalized 4,764 people, with 337 reported deaths, according to Haiti's Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP).
  • PIH’s Hôpital St Nicolas in St Marc, which is operated in partnership with the MSPP, is currently triaging about 200-300 patients each day. It averaged about 600 patients per day in the early days of the outbreak.
  • On Sunday, 30 cases of acute diarrhea (possibly cholera) were reported at PIH’s St Therese Hospital in Hinche, which is operated in partnership with the MSPP. This is the first possible report of cases this far north in the Central Plateau of Haiti. New cases are still arriving at the PIH/MSPP medical facility in Lacolline in the southern Central Plateau—some from communities that previously did not have any reported cholera cases. Lacolline is triaging 50-70 cases per day.
  • As of Monday morning, there have been no reported cases of cholera at the four Port-au-Prince settlement camps served by PIH health clinics, where 100,000 displaced earthquake survivors are currently living. The clinic teams are working in collaboration with the MSPP and other non-governmental organization to prepare emergency responses for both a potential cholera outbreak and potential hurricane-related damage and flooding.
  • PIH’s procurement team has reported no supply stock-outs since the outbreak was first detected, and is currently providing supplies to 16 health centers in the Artibonite. Over 22 shipments of supplies have reached PIH’s warehouse in St Marc since October 17; over 50 shipments have been dispatched from the St Marc warehouse to other health facilities throughout the region.
  • 25,460 liters of IV fluids and 114,100 sachets of oral rehydration salts have been distributed in the St. Marc/Petite Rivière areas since October 17. Since October 20, 106 trucks have delivered over 121,000 gallons of water for 25,040 households, thanks to a partnership with Yele Haiti. 400 water filters donated by Waves for Water have been distributed.
  • PIH’s community outreach team continues to educate communities and distribute water purification tablets and oral rehydration salts. PIH’s network of 16 hospitals and health centers are running trainings for community health workers on community prevention of cholera. PIH has created a special training curriculum for ajan santé (health agents who provide basic health education including hygiene, childhood vaccination, and nutrition) in Creole about cholera prevention and treatment. It’s now being used extensively and being made available for others to use.

About PIH: PIH works in 12 countries around the world to provide quality health care to people and communities devastated by joint burdens of poverty and disease. PIH has been providing vital health care services in Haiti for more than 20 years and is the largest health care provider in the country, working with the Haitian Ministry of Health to deliver comprehensive health care services to a catchment area of 1.2 million across the Central Plateau and the Lower Artibonite Valley. PIH had nearly 5,000 staff in Haiti before the January 12 earthquake.

 


For Immediate Release
Friday, October 29, 2010

Media Contacts:   Meredith Eves, 617-998-8977, ([email protected])
                                 Andrew Marx, (
[email protected])

Partners In Health: Cholera Update from Haiti – Friday, Oct. 29

Of PIH’s 3,000 HIV patients in St Marc, a community at the center of Haiti’s current outbreak, none have fallen ill from cholera as of today, reported Dr. Suffrin Dimitri, the head of the HIV program at Hôpital St Nicolas in St Marc. In addition, only one child has been hospitalized out of the 2,000 children enrolled in a pediatric malnutrition program operated by PIH and the non-profit organization ACTED.

PIH’s network of community health workers (CHWs) played a major role in this bit of good news among reports that the epidemic has infected over 4,000 and killed about 300 since it first broke out last week.

Well before the current epidemic, PIH’s HIV and malnutrition patients (and their families) were linked to health services through their CHWs. They had already received hygiene education and water filters from their CHWs, which helped to protect them from the disease.

PIH Chief Medical Officer Joia Mukherjee also credits CHWs for helping to keep the epidemic mostly contained in the Lower Artibonite region. Thousands of CHWs were already on the ground across the Artibonite and Central Plateau regions. They quickly mobilized and initiated an outreach campaign as soon as the outbreak was detected. Key activities included finding sick patients, educating remote villages on the importance of washing hands and drinking purified water, and distributing the soap and water purification tablets needed to do this.

 “The community health worker network acts as a safety net against outbreaks like this,” said Dr. Mukherjee.

Other highlights:

  • PIH’s Hôpital St Nicolas in St Marc, which is operated in partnership with Haiti’s Ministry of Public Health and Population, is currently caring for 130 inpatients. It was regularly averaging about 250-300 hospitalized cholera patients in the first days of the outbreak.
  • PIH has drafted a $3 million cholera response budget. Key activities included in this budget include bolstering staff, community mobilization, and support for logistics and supplies.
  • CHWs will continue to play a major role in PIH’s on-going efforts to treat and contain the epidemic. The $3 million cholera response budget includes substantial support for hiring and training additional CHWs and continued outreach and prevention activities.
  • Earlier this week, PIH community health workers discovered a remote village in dire need of help. Currently only accessible by helicopter or boat, the isolated community of Grand Saline was not originally in the areas served by PIH’s cholera response outreach team. PIH quickly coordinated with the UN to helicopter in emergency supplies, and transported a 1,400 lb water filtration system for the community, thanks to Operation Blessing.

For over two decades, the community health team—including CHWs, social workers and community health educators—has made up the backbone of PIH’s approach to providing high-quality health care to poor communities in Haiti. Trained and employed by PIH, they serve as a vital link between health centers and villages by regularly monitoring patients, delivering medicine, providing social and emotional support, finding sick neighbors and accompanying them to the hospital, and educating their communities.

About PIH: PIH works in 12 countries around the world to provide quality health care to people and communities devastated by joint burdens of poverty and disease. PIH has been providing vital health care services in Haiti for more than 20 years and is the largest health care provider in the country, working with the Haitian Ministry of Health to deliver comprehensive health care services to a catchment area of 1.2 million across the Central Plateau and the Lower Artibonite Valley. PIH had nearly 5,000 staff in Haiti before the January 12 earthquake.

 


For Immediate Release
Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Media Contacts:  Meredith Eves, 617-998-8977, ([email protected])
                                Andrew Marx, (
[email protected])

Partners In Health: Cholera Update from Haiti – Wednesday, Oct. 27

Since the cholera outbreak was first detected last week, PIH and its Haitian sister organization Zanmi Lasante have been on the ground responding to the crisis. As of Monday night, a total of 4,519 cholera patients have been hospitalized throughout Haiti’s Lower Artibonite and Central Plateau regions, and 292 reported deaths. Most of the hospitalizations and deaths have been concentrated in the Lower Artibonite region where PIH operates three hospitals in partnership with Haiti's Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP).

PIH’s procurement team has been working around the clock to supply health centers in the areas most affected by the epidemic with what they need to treat the hundreds of patients streaming in each day. PIH Procurement Manager Jon Lascher reported that 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. The supply situation at PIH’s hospital in St Marc is currently stable, he added.

PIH’s efficiency at procuring supplies is aided by over two decades experience on the ground in Haiti, as well as protocol and infrastructure established following the January 12 earthquake.  “Compared to the earthquake the diversity of products [needed] is much smaller, but the quantity of products needed is staggering,” Lascher said.

Community outreach continues to be a priority for the PIH team, as access to both medical facilities and clean water continues to be a major challenge.

Other highlights from reports on the ground:

  • 42 water trucks, each holding 1,200 gallons of potable water, have reached 15 communities in the region most affected by the outbreak, thanks to our partners at the nonprofit Yele Haiti. Permanent water filters have been installed at three communities, in partnership with Operation Blessing.
  • Community health workers, social workers, and community volunteers have been mobilized in affected areas.  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, and bring access to clean water to isolated communities.
  • Starting today, PIH’s teams at St. Marc and Petite Riviere are training over 600 community health workers (ajan santé and Accompagnateurs) on community prevention of cholera. Topics include: helping cholera patients get care they need, preventing the transmission of cholera and decontaminating homes. This training will enable the MSPP’s prevention messages to get out to many more individuals in communities most affected.
  • PIH is preparing to do community outreach in the Central Plateau and Port-Au-Prince in an effort to prevent the spread of the epidemic to other parts of the country. PIH has created eight different radio messages, which are now being played on many radio stations, with help from the MSPP. 
  • In remote areas, oral rehydration posts are being set up 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. These posts will be staffed with a nurse who will be able to administer IV fluids.
  • In the central plateau, the public medical facility operated by PIH in Lacolline has seen 90 cholera cases since the epidemic began, and currently has only 15 cholera in-patients.  Many of those infected were inmates at the prison in Mirebalais. The situation has improved dramatically—there have been no patients admitted from the prison in the last 48 hours. Prisoners have potable water, their cells have been cleaned, and infection control has been instituted. 

About PIH: PIH works in 12 countries around the world to provide quality health care to people and communities devastated by joint burdens of poverty and disease. PIH has been providing vital health care services in Haiti for more than 20 years and is the largest health care provider in the country, working with the Haitian Ministry of Health to deliver comprehensive health care services to a catchment area of 1.2 million across the Central Plateau and the Lower Artibonite Valley. PIH had nearly 5,000 staff in Haiti before the January 12 earthquake.

 


For Immediate Release
Monday, October 25, 2010

Media Contacts:  Meredith Eves, 617-998-8977, ([email protected])
                        Andrew Marx, ([email protected])

Partners In Health’s Chief of Mission and Chief Medical Officer Cite Lack of Access to Clean Water
and Sanitation As Major Concerns in Cholera Outbreak in Haiti

PIH Continues to Provide Treatment and Educate Communities, Prepares for Outbreak in Spontaneous Settlements in Port-au-Prince

BOSTON – On a conference call this afternoon, Partners In Health’s Chief of Mission in Haiti Dr. Louise Ivers and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Joia Mukherjee said that while the cholera outbreak remained concentrated in the Lower Artibonite region of Haiti, the fluid nature of Haitian society – markets, transport, regular travel from capital city to the country side, etc. – makes it inevitable that there will be some cases of cholera in Port-au-Prince, where conditions of overcrowding and extreme poverty could facilitate a widespread epidemic unless urgent and effective action is taken to provide access to clean water and sanitation. PIH operates three facilities in partnership with Haiti’s Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) in the Lower Artibonite – in St. Marc, Petite Rivière and Verrettes.

Dr. Ivers stressed that access to clean water and adequate sanitation remain major concerns, especially in the countryside where communities that lacked adequate water and sanitation facilities before the January 12 earthquake are now over-stressed by tens of thousands of displaced people who have moved there from Port-au-Prince. There are still many communities in the outbreak region whose only water source is the contaminated Artibonite River or rainwater.

Since the first case of cholera was identified last week, PIH and its partners - in addition to providing clinical care 24-7 – have mounted a massive community education and mobilization campaign. Community health workers are fanning out throughout the area to distribute supplies and to warn people of the need to drink only clean or purified water, wash their hands frequently — the two keys to preventing further spread of the disease – and go to the hospital immediately if they have symptoms of diarrhea. At the four spontaneous settlements served by PIH clinics in Port-au-Prince, teams are carrying out intensive education and prevention campaigns with residents and are making preparations to manage and control any outbreaks that might occur.

Listen to the full audio of the media call on the player below:

Download MP3 file of the call.

About PIH: PIH works in 12 countries around the world to provide quality health care to people and communities devastated by joint burdens of poverty and disease. PIH has been providing vital health care services in Haiti for more than 20 years and is the largest health care provider in the country, working with the Haitian Ministry of Health to deliver comprehensive health care services to a catchment area of 1.2 million across the Central Plateau and the Lower Artibonite Valley. PIH had nearly 5,000 staff in Haiti before the January 12 earthquake.

 


For Immediate Release
Monday, October 25, 2010, 1:30pm EDT

Media Contacts:   Meredith Eves, 617-998-8977, ([email protected])
                                 Andrew Marx, (
[email protected])

Partners In Health: Cholera Update from Haiti - Monday, Oct. 25

As of Monday morning, the cholera outbreak remains concentrated in the Lower Artibonite region of Haiti. Dr. Louise Ivers, Partners In Health Chief of Mission in Haiti, reported this morning a high volume of patients continues to arrive at PIH health facilities in the outbreak areas. PIH operates three facilities in this region, in partnership with Haiti’s Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP).

Dr. Ivers reported that access to clean water and health care facilities remain major concerns, particularly in isolated rural areas. There are still many communities in the outbreak region whose only water source is the contaminated Artibonite river or rain water. Although water purification tablets and oral rehydration salts have been widely distributed throughout the region, rehydrating cholera patients requires such a high volume of fluids—about 20 liters of fluid daily per patient—that PIH is urging all suspected cases (anyone with diarrhea) to seek treatment at a hospital, Dr. Ivers said. But access to medical facilities is also a challenge: communities in the Artibonite are widely spread out, and even the nearest hospital can be hours away by foot, horse, or car. 

Highlights from PIH’s team on the ground:

  • Community outreach remains a major priority. PIH is sponsoring radio messages that are being played throughout the region and thousands 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. Training materials for community health workers are also being finalized. Topics include preventing transmission and disinfecting the homes of cholera patients.
  • PIH is working with partners on the ground to set up special triage facilities and Cholera Treatment Centers (CTCs)—located away from the hospitals to prevent cholera patients from infecting non-cholera patients.
  • In Mirebalais, 25-30 inmates at the prison are very sick and are being treated at PIH’s health center in Lacolline. Five deaths have been reported among prisoners. As the prison facility is woefully overcrowded—300 prisoners in a space built for 80—PIH is working to set up a space to evacuate the remaining prisoners.
  • Several cases of cholera were reported in Port-au-Prince over the weekend, increasing concern that the epidemic could spread rapidly through the crowded spontaneous settlements where more than 1.2 million displaced people have been living since the January 12 earthquake. At the four settlement camps served by PIH clinics, teams are carrying out intensive education and prevention campaigns with residents and are making preparations to manage and control any outbreaks that might occur. So far all the cases in the Port-au-Prince area appear to be people who had travelled there from the rural areas to the north where the epidemic remains concentrated.
  • Patients are continuing to stream into PIH’s facility in St Marc, but the situation is growing more manageable each day, thanks to clinical reinforcements and improved infection control and triage mechanisms.
  • The situation is “under control” at PIH’s hospital in Petite Rivière, where PIH has instituted an effective means of infection control with technical assistance from partners.
  • There have been no cases reported at other health facilities operated by PIH in the Central Plateau region north of Lacolline.
  • PIH was able to get 14 water trucks to some of the communities most in need, thanks to a partnership with the non-profit organization Yele Haiti. However, there is still a high demand for potable water. PIH is working with Yele Haiti and other organizations, including Operation Blessing International and charity: water, and the Haitian government to meet this need.

PIH's Chief of Mission in Haiti Dr. Louise Ivers and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Joia Mukherjee are hosting a press conference call today at 3PM EDT about the situation on the ground in Haiti and PIH’s response. 

Domestic Dial in: 1800-640-0097

Int'l Dial In: 1-847-944-7321

Confirmation #: 28272239

About PIH: PIH works in 12 countries around the world to provide quality health care to people and communities devastated by joint burdens of poverty and disease. PIH has been providing vital health care services in Haiti for more than 20 years and is the largest health care provider in the country, working with the Haitian Ministry of Health to deliver comprehensive health care services to a catchment area of 1.2 million across the Central Plateau and the Lower Artibonite Valley. PIH had nearly 5,000 staff in Haiti before the January 12 earthquake.

 


For Immediate Release
Monday, October 25, 2010, 10:30 am EDT

Media Contacts:   Meredith Eves, 617-998-8977, ([email protected])
                                Andrew Marx, ([email protected])

TODAY 10/25 AT 3PM: Partners In Health Chief of Mission in Haiti and Chief Medical Officer Host Press Conference Call to Discuss Cholera Outbreak in Haiti

BOSTON - PIH's Haiti Chief of Mission Dr. Louise Ivers and PIH Chief Medical Officer Dr. Joia Mukherjee will be on a conference call with the media TODAY 10/25 at 3:00 PM EDT. They will discuss the cholera epidemic that has broken out in the Lower Artibonite region of Haiti, where Partners In Health operates three hospitals in partnership with the Haitian Ministry of Health. PIH is now mobilizing in the camps in Port au Prince, where five cases of cholera have been confirmed so far.

As Chief of Mission, Dr. Ivers is directing PIH’s response to the epidemic on the ground. Dr. Mukherjee has been following the situation closely from PIH’s Boston office, and has been heavily involved with PIH’s strategic response to this outbreak, as well as PIH’s post-earthquake relief efforts.

WHO: Chief of Mission in Haiti Dr. Louise Ivers and PIH Chief Medical Officer Dr. Joia Mukherjee

WHAT:  Press conference call with Partners In Health to discuss the cholera outbreak in Haiti

WHEN: TODAY, October 25 at 3:00 pm EDT

RSVP: To RSVP, please contact Meredith Eves at [email protected] or 617-998-8945.

CALL-IN INFO:  Domestic Dial in: 1-800-640-0097

                       Int'l Dial In: 1-847-944-7321

                       Confirmation #: 28272239

As of Sunday more than 3,000 cases and over 250 deaths had been reported. Hôpital Saint Nicolas in St. Marc, which PIH operates in partnership with the Haitian Ministry of Health hospitalized 300 patients on Sunday. Every day hospital patient management improves. PIH and its partners have rushed clinical reinforcements and supplies to the region and have mounted a massive community education and mobilization campaign. Community health workers are fanning out throughout the area to distribute oral rehydration salts and soap and to warn people of the need to drink only clean or purified water and wash their hands frequently—the two keys to preventing further spread of the disease.

About PIH: PIH works in 12 countries around the world to provide quality health care to people and communities devastated by joint burdens of poverty and disease. PIH has been providing vital health care services in Haiti for more than 20 years and is the largest health care provider in the country, working with the Haitian Ministry of Health to deliver comprehensive health care services to a catchment area of 1.2 million across the Central Plateau and the Lower Artibonite Valley. PIH had nearly 5,000 staff in Haiti before the January 12 earthquake.

 


For Immediate Release
Saturday, October 24, 2010, 1:50 pm EDT

Media Contacts: Meredith Eves, 617-998-8977, ([email protected])
                            Andrew Marx ([email protected])


Partners In Health: Cholera Update from Haiti - Sunday, Oct. 24 

A handful of cholera cases have been reported in Port-au-Prince, heightening concern that the epidemic could spread rapidly through the crowded spontaneous settlements where more than 1.2 million displaced people have been living since the January 12 earthquake. But so far all the cases in the Port-au-Prince area appear to be people who had travelled there from the rural areas to the north where the epidemic broke out last week. The outbreak remains concentrated mainly in the Lower Artibonite region—where Zanmi Lasante (PIH’s Haitian sister organization) operates three hospitals in partnership with Haiti’s Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP)—with a smaller number of cases in the adjacent Central Department. The latest reports from the MSPP put the death toll at over 200, with more than 2,670 people hospitalized.

Here are the highlights of a report sent by PIH’s team in the region early Sunday morning:

• Management is improving every day at Hopital Saint Nicolas in St. Marc, the city at the center of the initial outbreak. 300 patients were hospitalized on Saturday, a number that has decreased by the end of each day. With help from Medecins Sans Frontieres Spain, an effective process for triaging cholera and non-cholera patients separately is now fully functional. 600 patients were triaged on Saturday. In addition to MSF, a volunteer team from Medical Teams International has arrived in St. Marc to lend their support.

• The hospital in Petite Rivière de l'Artibonite is managing the situation with technical assistance from MSF-Belgium.

• In Mirebalais, many of the inmates at the prison are very sick. PIH's clinical team in nearby Lascahobas is working on a medical response with tents so that the cells can be evacuated. 

• Efforts are ongoing to make clean water available in the communities and to reach people who had nothing but river water as a source. PIH is working both through the UN coordination mechanism for water and independently in partnership with Operation Blessing and Yele Haiti. 

PIH is arranging a press conference call for Monday, October 25, with Dr. Louise Ivers Chief of Mission for PIH in Haiti and other staff on the ground in Haiti and in Boston. Details, including the time and call-in information, will be provided in a separate email on Monday morning.

PIH's Chief Medical Officer, Joia Mukherjee, is available for interviews today. She is not in Haiti but has been involved in planning and coordinating PIH's response and receiving regular updates around the clock since the outbreak began.

About PIH: PIH works in 12 countries around the world to provide quality health care to people and communities devastated by joint burdens of poverty and disease. PIH has been providing vital health care services in Haiti for more than 20 years and is the largest health care provider in the country, working with the Haitian Ministry of Health to deliver comprehensive health care services to a catchment area of 1.2 million across the Central Plateau and the Lower Artibonite Valley. PIH had nearly 5,000 staff in Haiti before the January 12 earthquake.

 


For Immediate Release
Saturday, October 23, 2010, 11:20 am EDT

Media Contacts: Meredith Eves, 617-998-8977, ([email protected])
                           
Andrew Marx ([email protected])

Partners In Health: Cholera Update from Haiti - Saturday, Oct. 23


The number of reported cholera cases and the death toll from the outbreak continue to rise and continue to be concentrated in the Lower Artibonite region, where Zanmi Lasante (PIH’s Haitian sister organization) operates three hospitals in partnership with Haiti’s Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP). As of Friday evening, the MSPP reported a total of 2364 cases had been hospitalized throughout the region with 194 deaths.

Here are the highlights of a report sent by PIH’s team in the region early Saturday morning:

  • The number of new cases at the hospital in St. Marc on Friday was lower than on Thursday. But with only 3 days of data, it is not yet possible to say that this represents a positive trend.
  • Some cases (10) have now been reported in Gonaives, the largest city in the Artibonite region located 34 miles north of St. Marc.
  • Yele Haiti (the foundation led by Wyclef Jean) will start trucking water to communities in collaboration with Zanmi Lasante (ZL) on Saturday. Operation Blessing has already bee
n doing so since Thursday.
  • Community outreach activities are ongoing. Community health workers are performing active case finding, providing soap, and educating people about the importance of washing their hands regularly and drinking only clean or purified water. Additional training for community health workers will begin on Monday using special modules that are being finalized today (Saturday).
  • A team from Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Belgium arrived in Petite Rivière de l’Artibonite on Friday, where they are providing technical assistance at the hospital ZL operates with the Ministry of Health. Another team from MSF Spain has been working with ZL in St. Marc and has helped set up a system for burning waste at the hospital that will go into effect today (Saturday).

PIH's Chief Medical Officer, Joia Mukherjee, is available for interviews. She is not in Haiti today but has been involved in planning and coordinating PIH's response and receiving regular updates around the clock since the outbreak began.

About PIH: PIH works in 12 countries around the world to provide quality health care to people and communities devastated by joint burdens of poverty and disease. PIH has been providing vital health care services in Haiti for more than 20 years and is the largest health care provider in the country, working with the Haitian Ministry of Health to deliver comprehensive health care services to a catchment area of 1.2 million across the Central Plateau and the Lower Artibonite Valley. PIH had nearly 5,000 staff in Haiti before the January 12 earthquake.



For Immediate Release
Thursday, October 22, 2010

Contact: Andrew Marx, (617) 998-8977, Meredith Eves, (617) 998-8945

Partners In Health’s Chief Medical Officer Discusses Post-earthquake Cholera Outbreak in Haiti

BOSTON - On a press conference call earlier today, Partners In Health’s Chief Medical Officer Joia Mukherjee updated the media on the status of a cholera outbreak in Haiti and PIH’s response. Since the epidemic broke out on Tuesday, Oct 19, more than 2000 suspected cases and 140 deaths have been reported. This is the first outbreak of cholera in Haiti since the 1960s. It is concentrated in the Lower Artibonite region, where PIH operates three hospitals in partnership with Haiti’s Ministry of Health, including Hôpital Saint Nicolas in Saint Marc.

Partners In Health is taking a three-pronged approach to halting this epidemic: treating the ill through oral rehydration, intravenous fluids, and antibiotics; mounting a massive community outreach and prevention campaign to distribute soap and rehydration salts and educate people about the need to drink only clean or purified water, wash their hands regularly, and go to the hospital immediately if they fall ill; and working on long-term solutions to improve the public water and sanitation infrastructure.

For Joia Mukherjee’s detailed report, go to: http://www.himsprescription.com/cholera-update

Please see below for key quotes from the press call:

Joia Mukherjee on the hospital mainly coping with the outbreak: “Our sort of sentinel site for this has been L’Hopital Saint Nicolas which is a very large hospital. It’s a public facility in St. Marc, where Partners In Health has been working in full since 2008. … It’s a very large facility and really is the referral hospital for at least 600,000 people and has been woefully understaffed and under resourced even with our best efforts to work with the Ministry. It’s a very, very big problem. We have about 5 full-time equivalent physicians there between Zanmi Lasante and the Ministry of Public Health and a similarly low number of nurses for a hospital of around 200 beds. It’s a really difficult situation and so that’s where we’ve seen the large majority of cases now. Probably 1,500 of the cases that we’ve reported of the 2,000 suspected cases have been from L’Hopital Saint Nicholas.”

Joia Mukherjee on the cause of the outbreak: We are not aware of any specific action that sparked this, other than “an accumulation of increasingly dense population, worsening poverty, the rainy season, and the general poor access to water and sanitation.”

Joia Mukherjee on the risk of the epidemic spreading: “There are probably incidents happening in other areas of the country without health centers, without health workers. … There is no reason to anticipate that this wouldn’t spread widely throughout Haiti.”

Joia Mukherjee on the using other nonprofits’ expertise: “We would not have been able to do the kinds of community-based water projects that we’ve done over the years without these partners. We do need experienced partners in Haiti to work on water – like charity: water, like Operation Blessing – and this is a critical component of what we should be doing now.”

Joia Mukherjee on the importance of partnerships: “Partnerships are critical: No one organization can provide water security for Haiti, and we know that the Haitian government also needs partners and needs assistance.”

Joia Mukherjee on making water security a priority in rebuilding Haiti: “We feel that the international community now, with the goal of rebuilding Haiti, really needs to pay attention to this as a priority.”

Joia Mukherjee on the importance of community outreach: “We’re hoping that with our active case finding and raising awareness and community strategies we will start seeing some diminution of death rates as we catch people earlier but right now it’s a very, very severe problem.”

Joia Mukherjee on the challenge of displaced people in rural areas: “When we think of water security and adequate sanitation, it is easier to provide those services where you have a concentrated group of displaced people. So even though it’s a terrible situation in the camps [of displaced people in Port-au-Prince], you can set up a water installation or two or three and people have access to safe water. What we see in the Artibonite, as well as in the Central Department, is that displaced people are living in homes. They’re living in over-crowded homes with relatives and they’re scattered all around with no centralized way of giving water and sanitation. So the “home-hosted” internally displaced people are putting a large stressor on a system of inadequate water and sanitation and can’t be easily addressed in groups.”

About PIH: PIH works in 12 countries around the world to provide quality health care to people and communities devastated by joint burdens of poverty and disease. PIH has been providing vital health care services in Haiti for more than 20 years and is the largest health care provider in the country, working with the Haitian Ministry of Health to deliver comprehensive health care services to a catchment area of 1.2 million across the Central Plateau and the Lower Artibonite Valley. PIH had 5,000 staff in Haiti before the January 12 earthquake.

 

 


For Immediate Release
Thursday, March 25, 2010

Media Contacts: Andrew Marx, 617-998-8977, ([email protected])
Meredith Eves, 617-998-8977, ([email protected])

TOMORROW, FRIDAY, March 26 at 11:45AM: Partners In Health’s Joia Mukherjee and Donna Barry To Discuss Key Issues and Desired Outcomes from U.N. Donor Conference on March 31
Will Also Discuss PIH’s $125 Million Plan to Help Haiti Rebuild

BOSTON – Partners In Health, an international health organization that has been working in Haiti since 1987, will hold a press conference call TOMORROW, FRIDAY, March 26 at 11:45AM. PIH Medical Director