Nov 22 2010
by Senator Bill Frist, M.D.
I write to you today a little more optimistic than my last post on the developing disaster in Haiti. I will be keeping on top of the situation there and encourage you to stop by to read updates on my personal website, BillFrist.com. This weekend, I urgently emailed around the medical community, searching for desperately needed supplies for Haiti's ongoing cholera outbreak. From starting with nothing Saturday morning, we now will have a massive bulk shipment of Ringers Lactate and IV sets arrive this week in Haiti, be distributed that afternoon to 8 facilities by evening. Impressive response on short notice.
I also just got word from USAID that they now are also sending more Ringers Lactate. Yesterday morning I was told there were 200,000 in Haiti in storage and 400,000 in pipeline. When I said my people alone on the ground were using 75,000 per month there was a long pause. Now people seem to be getting the picture.
The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, where I sit on the board, has recently announced an emergency $100,000 grant to the African Methodist Episcopal Church Service and Development Agency (AME-SADA). This wonderful organization is the only organization providing health care to the 350,000 residents of Archaie and Cabaret in the Artibonite region of Haiti. These funds will be used exclusively to fight the cholera outbreak, and USAID's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance is matching our grant with in-kind, instead of monetary, support.
However this is only the start. As I said last week, estimates vary, but it is almost certain that 200,000 to 800,000 Haitians will be infected with cholera. The death toll has risen over the weekend to 1,250 and the outbreak finally appears to have fully hit the capital, Port-au-Prince, with a reported 15% to 20% increase in cases every day. The successes above are crucial in beginning the wave of support that Haiti and the NGOs on the ground critically need, but they are only the start of the solution. For now, think about donating to one of the charities below (or to one that I haven't listed!) and always remember to spread the word.