On Sunday morning, November 7, a father brought his two ill sons to the local hospital in St. Denis, a small town in central Haiti. His three-year-old was especially weak and suffering from symptoms of cholera.
MSF had set up an area for cholera treatment at the hospital, but the gate to the facility was locked. The father and sons waited four hours for it to open. Other people with symptoms of cholera arrived and waited.
The MSF team was locked out of the building, too. MSF arranged to transport the boys, along with their father and five others suspected of having cholera, to another hospital in nearby Petite Rivière, where MSF is working.
St. Denis is a rural area along the Artibonite River in the region by the same name. The current cholera outbreak in Haiti originated in this region. MSF began treating patients there soon after the first cases were confirmed on October 19.
Cholera can be deadly if not treated right away. Patients can become dangerously dehydrated due to uncontrollable diarrhea and vomitting. But treatment—oral rehydration solution, given intravenously if necessary—usually cures a patient in two days.
Responding to the widespread and massive needs for cholera treatment in Haiti is a daunting task. MSF continues to treat high numbers of patients in the Artibonite region, where the outbreak originated.