Community health facility preparedness for a cholera surge in Haiti
Keywords:cholera, emergency, preparedness, healthcare, surge, Haiti
With increasing population displacement and worsening water insecurity after the 2010 earthquake, Haiti experienced a large cholera outbreak. Our goal was to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of seven community health facilities’ ability to respond to a surge in cholera cases.
Since 2010, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) with a number of public and private donors has been working with seven health facilities in an effort to reduce morbidity and mortality from cholera infection. In November 2012, CRS through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s support, asked the Johns Hopkins Center for Refugee and Disaster Response to conduct a cholera surge simulation tabletop exercise at these health facilities to improve each facility’s response in the event of a cholera surge. Using simulation development guidelines from the Pan American Health Organization and others, a simulation scenario script was produced that included situations of differing severity, supply chain, as well as a surge of patients.
A total of 119 hospital staff from seven sites participated in the simulation exercise including community health workers, clinicians, managers, pharmacists, cleaners, and security guards. Clinics that had challenges during the simulated clinical care of patients were those that did not appropriately treat all cholera patients according to protocol, particularly those that were vulnerable, those that would need additional staff to properly treat patients during a surge of cholera, and those that required a better inventory of supplies.
Simulation-based activities have the potential to identify healthcare delivery system vulnerabilities that are amenable to intervention prior to a cholera surge.
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