WASHINGTON, Dec. 17, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In response to the growing cholera epidemic in Haiti, the American Red Cross announced today it is donating $1.5 million to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to purchase, ship, store and distribute IV fluids and other essential supplies.
This action comes as the number of cholera cases in Haiti has now exceeded 100,000. Funds will provide 250,000 liters of Ringer's Lactate solution, an IV fluid that helps to keep cholera patients hydrated; 15,000 units of erythromycin, an antibiotic; as well as catheters and gloves to help nurses and physicians provide lifesaving medical care.
"The American Red Cross is ensuring that essential medical supplies for the cholera response continue to arrive in Haiti," says PAHO Director Mirta Roses Periago. "This cholera epidemic is expected to reach hundreds of thousands of people in coming months, and we need the coordinated and generous support of organizations like the Red Cross to meet these demands."
Once they arrive in Port-au-Prince, these supplies will be available for immediate distribution in coordination with Haiti's Ministry of Public Health and Population.
The American Red Cross has already purchased nearly 900,000 sachets of oral rehydration solution, in addition to millions of chlorine tablets to treat water making it safe to drink, soap to ensure basic hygiene, and other health and hygiene-related items.
"We have spent millions of dollars in an aggressive response to the spread of cholera," says Ricardo Caivano, country representative for the American Red Cross in Haiti. "Now, we are further scaling up our response to cholera prevention and treatment, including expanding the geographical scope of our activities."
The American Red Cross has been actively working to educate Haitians about proper preventive measures, reaching more than 100,000 Haitians in Port-au-Prince by going tent-to-tent with cholera prevention tips. The global Red Cross network is also supplying clean drinkable water to more than three hundred thousand people every day.
Meanwhile, PAHO/WHO continues to ensure the availability of intravenous solutions, oral rehydration salts and antibiotics.
PAHO/WHO has been coordinating with a number of on-the-ground organizations including the global Red Cross network, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), and Doctors without Borders (MSF) to revise estimates and ensure enough supplies are available.
Thanks to the generosity of the American people following the January earthquake, the American Red Cross anticipates having the funds necessary to respond to unexpected emergencies in Haiti including this cholera epidemic. More information on American Red Cross activities and programs can be found at www.redcross.org/haiti.
SOURCE American Red Cross