Spring rains are causing more cholera cases in Haiti. This is what that means for the Haitians who become sick. Day by day, we're seeing a rapid increase of patients at our cholera treatment centers. Below I've shared photos so you can see a single day at a Partners in Health center.
The cholera treatment center is a collection of large tents with concrete floors where my colleague, Dr. Thelisma Heber, and a team of nurses and assistants care for patients. Inside, cots with holes and buckets underneath provide patients with quick relief for severe diarrhea.
One of Dr. Heber's patients was a 5-month-old baby, Abigail Defolk, whom he treated with pediatric oral rehydration solution. Abigail's mother and grandfather traveled by boat and car to reach the treatment center.
Nearby, a well-dressed gentleman in a straw hat waited to speak with Dr. Heber about his symptoms. A few moments later, the 63-year-old man collapsed and had to be transferred to the inpatient tent, where patients too sick for oral rehydration solution are treated with intravenous fluids. The patient's daughters were also being treated—all three had fallen sick the day before.
Without public water and sanitation systems, families get sick when they can't afford to treat their water. The situation only gets worse in the rainy season, when downpours spread the cholera bacteria into Haiti's waterways. Just as cases spiked during last year's rainy season, I'm afraid Dr. Heber will be seeing more cases soon.