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UNICEF expands its cholera response in Haiti and launches a massive social mobilisation campaign

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 23 November 2010 – UNICEF, alongside international NGO partners, is   reinforcing its outbreak response by assisting cholera medical structures. In coordination with the Health Ministry and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) UNICEF is scaling up its assistance to Cholera Treatment Centres, Unit Treatment Centres and ORS Points. The fatality rate remains worrisome and children continue to pay a heavy price since they represent over half of the Haitian population. 

More than three weeks into the outbreak, a national community and social mobilisation strategy has been finalised with the use of mass media communication such as radio, television and SMS targeting at least 80 per cent of the total population. The strategy is being implemented in partnership with sectoral ministries, volunteers, civil society groups, wireless phone network Voilà and other private sector groups. In alignment with this plan UNICEF has developed a national and community strategy and plan for massive social mobilisation.

UNICEF and partners have also been disseminating prevention messages to 5,000 vulnerable schools representing a total 1.2 million children and 600 Residential Care Centres serving more than 30,000 children. 

“We are actively coordinating, with the government and our main partners, the delivery of emergency supplies along with a social mobilisation strategy” said Francoise Gruloos-Ackermans, UNICEF Representative in Haiti. “One of our teams was delivering messages at Sacré Coeur Church this Sunday in the capital. Our objective is to support more social networks in order to increase our reach in our mobilisation campaign.”

UNICEF is working to support communities where the outbreak has already taken hold, and is also providing supplies, such as soap, water disinfection tablets, and hygiene kits to help prevent the disease from spreading further. Forty medical structures and 74 partners –including MSF- have been assisted by UNICEF. Since the beginning of the cholera epidemic UNICEF has been supplying ongoing procurement of essential lifesaving supplies. The following includes available and sent items:

  • 13.8 million aquatabs,
  • 2 million ORS sachets,
  • 610,000 soap items,
  • 7,770 kg of chlorine products,
  • 763 tents to set-up Cholera Treatment Centres/Units.

The scope of the epidemic will require a large-scale intervention at the national level, including efforts to promote health-seeking behaviors and sensitize the population on the need to urgently seek care as soon as symptoms occur. More specialized medical staff such as nurses and hygiene workers will be needed urgently in hospitals nationwide. “UNICEF is joining other partners in an urgent call to mobilize nurses with previous cholera treatment experience within and outside the country to assist the present response,” said Gruloos-Ackermans.

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org

For further information, please contact:
UNICEF Country Office, Haiti
Jean Jacques Simon, Chief Communications
Cell: + 509-3702 3698

Patrick McCormick, UNICEF New York,
Tel + 1 212 326 7426 / Cell + 1 917 582 7546,




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