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The Health Show: Cholera Introduced to Haiti
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The Health Show: Cholera Introduced to Haiti
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A cholera outbreak in post-earthquake Haiti has affected half a million people in just six months. While the Haitian government scrambles to build sanitation infrastructure to break the cycle of disease, health workers rely on education.
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Produced by Rockhopper TV.

Originally broadcast as part of The Health Show.

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Segment 1

TITLE
The Health Show
VOICEOVER
Rosaline Duvantine is very ill. She can barely walk. A hundred people with symptoms like hers come to this cholera center for treatment every day. Five thousand people have died and almost half a million have fallen ill in just six months.
DR. RALPH TERNIER [Partners in Health, Haiti]
We discovered a lot of new cases of diarrhea, which appeared, by the symptom, it was cholera.
DOCTOR
Are you feeling ill?
ROSALINE
Yes.
DOCTOR
How many times did you go to the toilet?
ROSALINE
Many times.
DOCTOR
Were you sick?
ROSALINE
Yes.
DOCTOR
How many times did you vomit?
ROSALINE
Many times.
VOICEOVER
Patients have to share beds.
DR. RALPH TERNIER
We are lacking beds. Normally this site is fit for 25 beds, so we're doubling right now.
VOICEOVER
The disease is contracted by eating or drinking food or water contaminated with cholera bacteria. This causes severe diarrhea and vomiting. Rosaline is quickly put on rehydration therapy. All patients with cholera symptoms are isolated in these wards and treated with antibiotics and fluids. As desperate as these people look, this fast response has slowed the spread of the disease. It means fewer people are dying. But it's a short-term solution.
VOICEOVER
Haiti had been free of cholera for over a century. Scientific reports, including one published by the US Centers for Disease Control, strongly suggest the source of this outbreak was a battalion of United Nations peacekeepers from Nepal, operating from this base in October 2010. A South Asian strain of cholera contaminated the nearby Artibonite river, and beyond.
DR. RALPH TERNIER
The river next to the camps was infected. Now it spread into all the country. The experts said that we're going to have cholera for years.
VOICEOVER
Poor sanitary conditions speed the spread of cholera bacteria. A million earthquake survivors are still living in tents, with no access to reliable sanitation or clean water. The government has started to build its first solid waste treatment plant.
WILSTON ETIENNE [Department of Water and Sanitation, Haiti]
It will be a huge improvement for Haiti. It's a facility where all the excrement can be disposed of. It can go through a treatment process, so any excrement which potentially has cholera it will be contained, it will be treated, so that it's not disposed of maybe as is currently being done in canals and ravines.
VOICEOVER
It's this kind of structural development that is needed to break the cycle of disease. Back at the emergency treatment center, health workers take an extra preventative step before discharging patients. They're teaching them how to sterilize water.
NURSE
Take home these sachets of tablets. Use them to make your water clean. I will show you how. Remember to wash your hands with soap and water.
VOICEOVER
It will take a long time to create a basic sanitation system for Haiti. But changing people's habits through education is also vital to keep millions of people safe from this highly contagious disease.