NBC12 photographer: Haiti fights cholera outbreak - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

NBC12 photographer: Haiti fights cholera outbreak

By Ryan Nobles - bio | email & Nathan McCann - email
Posted by Phil Riggan – email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The cholera outbreak in Haiti continues to get worse. Medical professionals on the ground are doing the best than can to stay ahead of the problem in the devastated country.

NBC12 photographer Nathan McCann spent several days earlier this week in Haiti, working on an independent documentary. While he was there he spoke to doctors and nurses about the challenge of stopping a disease that is killing Haitians by the thousands.

As the situation in Haiti goes from bad to worse, teams of medical professionals are making due with what they have to fight the cholera outbreak.

It is a battle that is often a losing one. At Saint Therese Hospital in Hinche, Haiti, 115 kilometers northeast of the capital of Port au Prince, three different teams rotate shifts, taking turns treating the victims. Victims that are often beyond help.

"When someone comes to the hospital too late it is difficult to treat the cholera," said Dr. Prince, director of St. Therese Hospital.

So much of the outbreak is out of the control of the medical professionals. A waterborne illness, cholera spreads quickly when it rains.  Leaving these doctors to pray things remain dry, during the country's rainy season.

A frustrating prospect for a disease that can usually be stopped by taking simple steps.

"All of these deaths could have been prevented if there were better water systems and more equitable access to potable water, better hygiene, less poverty," said Phuoc Le, a volunteer physician with Partners In Health.

The government of Haiti has reported that 1,100 people have been killed by cholera.

The doctors McCann spoke to in Hinche believe before it's over, more than 200,000 people could contract the disease.

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.

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