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Stories from the field

Canadian Red Cross opens Cholera Treatment Centre in Haiti

By Katie Kallio, Information delegate, Carrefour

December 18, 2010

HopeOn Sunday December 12, the Canadian Red Cross opened its first-ever field hospital in Carrefour, Haiti. The hospital has been set up as a cholera treatment centre in response to the cholera outbreak that has killed over 2,000 people to date.

Within only 30 hours of the first boxes arriving on-site, the centre was open and treating patients. The tented facility can currently accommodate 40 overnight patients and continues to rapidly scale up efforts to meet the growing needs in the community.

"Cholera does not have to kill people," says Hossam Elsharkawi, director of emergencies and recovery with the Canadian Red Cross. "By having the capacity to rapidly deploy this hospital we are able to minimize the impact of this disease."

In addition to the team of Canadian experts deployed with the hospital, the team is now joined by 60 Haitian medical and technical experts from within the community. Over the next four months the Canadian Red Cross hospital will help build local capacity so that communities will be stronger and better prepared in the face of the next outbreak.

"This project has been months in the making," says Danielle Levesque, head nurse and emergency response unit officer with the Canadian Red Cross. "We are now seeing all those efforts pay off. We are treating patients, and making an incredible difference in this community and I am extremely proud to be part of this team."

The hospital is part of the First Responders Initiative, a three year partnership with the Government of Canada that will increase disaster response capacity in the Americas.