The outbreak began two months ago and is unfolding amid an economic crisis and growing instability due to gang violence.
Ninety percent of confirmed cases are in areas with a high burden of acute malnutrition.
Children with this disease, also known as severe malnutrition, are more vulnerable to cholera and at least three times more likely to die From him.
“In Haiti right now there is a triple threat to the lives of children –malnutrition, cholera and armed violence. And sometimes all three together. said Manuel Fontaine, Director UNICEFOffice of Emergency Programs, which completed a four-day visit to the country.
Mr. Fontaine saw life-saving care for malnourished children through UNICEF-supported cholera treatment in the capital, Port-au-Prince, and in the Cité Soleil area.
“I was shocked to see many children are at risk of dying in cholera treatment centers. In just a few hours, acute watery diarrhea and vomiting dehydrates and weakens them so much that they can die without timely and adequate treatment. Cholera and malnutrition is a deadly combination, one leading to the other,” he said.
The senior official also visited a center that provides medical, psychological and psychosocial assistance to victims of gender-based violence.
Break the vicious circle
As of Monday, Haiti had 924 confirmed cases of cholera, more than 10,600 suspected cases and 188 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health.
Mr. Fontaine was adamant that the “vicious circle” between malnutrition and cholera could be broken.
“A simple, affordable and effective treatment can save the lives of Haitian childrenif we get to the most vulnerable families before it’s too late,” he said.
“But the poor urban areas most affected by the cholera outbreak are also under the control of well-armed gangs. With widespread armed violence and insecurity in large parts of the capital, humanitarian teams walk on eggshells.”
Nutritional screenings and support
UNICEF is seeking funding to step up its cholera control efforts over the next five months.
US$27.5 million will be used to provide humanitarian assistance in the areas of health, water, hygiene and sanitation, and nutrition and protection for 1.4 million people.
Since July, UN agency and partners have been conducting screening and assessment of nutritional status almost 6200 children in Cité Soleil, the capital’s largest poor urban area.
Overall, about 2,500 children under the age of five suffering from severe and moderate acute malnutrition received quality treatment.
UNICEF, in collaboration with national authorities and partners, delivered items such as 245 cholera kits, 313,000 sachets of oral rehydration salts, zinc, antibiotics and personal protective equipment (PPE) to health departments.
Other assistance included the provision of 135,000 water purification tablets to a partner hospital in Cité Soleil.
In addition, over 468,000 liters of water have been distributed to the 22,290 people currently living in or displaced from the area.