The American Red Cross has announced an additional $7.4 million in funding for programs and partnerships working to address the cholera epidemic in Haiti, an outbreak that has claimed more than four thousand lives.
Part of the emergency response organization's $14.4 million commitment to support cholera programs in the impoverished Caribbean nation, the funding will be used to expand an existing outreach program for vulnerable communities, with the goal of reaching more than 377,000 households by the end of 2011; establish 250 posts/distribution points within communities for the ongoing provision of oral rehydration salts; train 1,500 Haitian Red Cross volunteers to administer these posts/distribution points; and refer suspected cholera cases to designated treatment facilities. While the mortality rate has fallen since the first appearance of cholera in October, new cases continue to be reported, particularly in rural areas.
Initially, the program will be implemented in the capital of Port-au-Prince and several regions across the country. The funding includes more than $3.1 million for new cholera-related programs in collaboration with partner organizations, including a $1.5 million initiative with Save the Children that will focus on cholera prevention and treatment activities in and around Leogane, and a $1.6 million project with the International Medical Corps that will focus on cholera prevention and treatment in western and southern portions of the country.
In response to the epidemic, the Red Cross has expanded its hygiene promotion program in the country and donated medical supplies, five thousand cots, and more than $2.5 million in cash and supplies for programs managed by the global Red Cross network.