MSF supports cholera vaccination campaign in Haiti amid outbreak

By Medecins Sans Frontieres

MSF supports cholera vaccination campaign in Haiti amid outbreak

The international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has begun supporting a cholera vaccination campaign in Haiti as a resurgence of the disease has affected more than 15,000 people and killed approximately 300 since the end of September. The campaign is being led and managed by Haiti’s Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP).

“We support the vaccination campaign in Cité Soleil, one of the most cholera-affected areas of Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince,” said William Etienne, MSF emergency coordinator. “Though the pace of contamination has apparently slowed down recently, vaccination remains a very useful tool in a fragile health context such as this.”

The ongoing cholera outbreak is happening at a time when people are already struggling to access health care. Fuel is becoming progressively more available after weeks of extreme scarcity due to the blockage of the main oil terminal, but insecurity and violence—combined with an unprecedented economic and social crisis—make accessing basic services extremely complicated.

MSF has been part of the cholera emergency response since the first few patients were identified this fall. As part of this new vaccination campaign, MSF teams are helping with the transportation of the vaccine doses and other items, facilitating the movement of the MSPP vaccination teams, distributing soap and other hygiene items, and taking care of waste management. MSF has also opened several cholera treatment centers in Port-au-Prince and in the province of Artibonite. Additionally, MSF is working to provide access to clean water and run health education activities to help curb the spread.

MSPP received 1.17 million cholera vaccine doses on December 12 from the International Coordinating Group, an international body that manages emergency supplies of vaccines. There is currently a global shortage of cholera vaccines amid an unprecedented number of outbreaks due to climate factors like floods and droughts, conflict, and forced displacement as there is often limited access to clean water in refugee and displacement camps, among other factors.