Cholera: Two Year Fast Facts on the U.S. Government's Work in Haiti
On October 21, 2010, the Haitian Ministry of Health and Population (MSPP) confirmed cases of cholera for the first time in at least a century.
At the request of the Government of Haiti, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)—already helping Haiti build sustainable health systems to detect and combat the spread of communicable diseases in the aftermath of the devastating January 2010 earthquake—immediately began working with MSPP and the Pan American Health Organization to lessen the severity of the outbreak.
Through December 2011, the U.S. Government provided expertise and more than $73 million to prevent additional cholera cases and support the response by:
- Distributing products to purify drinking water, soap for washing hands and household items, and oral rehydration salts for people with cholera.
- Working side-by-side with the MSPP and other partners to establish a national system for tracking cases of cholera.
- Supporting staff training, re-stocking, and development of treatment guidelines at cholera treatment centers and oral rehydration posts.
- Developing cholera treatment and prevention materials and training more than 500 health care workers, who have in turn trained close to 10,000 Haitian health care workers throughout the country.
- Improving access to clean water in communities by providing support to drill new wells and repair others.
As of mid-November, Haiti has reported more than 492,000 cases of cholera and 6,700 deaths. Though deaths from cholera were high in the first few months of the epidemic, Haitian-led, international efforts have helped ensure the fatality rate remains consistently below the international standard of 1 percent.
Inadequate access to clean water and sanitation are ongoing problems in Haiti, suggesting that cholera will remain for years to come. The United States is committed to strengthening the Haitian health care system to contain the outbreak and treat the Haitian people.