News

‘It Became Part Of Life’: How Haiti Curbed Cholera

When cholera broke out just months after a devastating earthquake, Haiti’s health system was pushed to the brink. The extraordinary rearguard action that followed offers an object lesson in dealing with a public health crisis

Marie Millande Tulmé was at work in a prison when she received a call confirming her fears: the gruesome sickness spreading rapidly across her nation was indeed cholera.

The head nurse for Haiti’s Central Plateau region at the time, Tulmé was investigating rumours that prisoners were getting violently ill and that two had died. “I thought: ‘Haiti will perish,’” she says, recalling her reaction when Haiti’s national laboratory phoned with the news. “Because I knew that cholera was grave. That it spreads easily.”

Within days, hundreds of people living near the the country’s longest river, the Artibonite, which irrigates rice paddies across central Haiti, were wrapping their sick in bedsheets or carrying them on mattresses to hospitals so crowded that patients were lying head to toe on the pavement outside. Cholera would eventually sicken 800,000 people – nearly 10% of Haiti’s population – and kill 10,000.

MORE

Categories: News

Tagged as: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s