HCJB team helps lower number of cholera patients in Haiti

By July 13, 2011

Haiti (MNN) — The seven members of the second medical team from Ecuador with HCJB Global this year are treating patients at a cholera treatment center in Cité Soleil, Haiti.

Cholera has yet to loosen its grip on Haiti since the initial outbreak following a January 2010 earthquake. The disease has come in waves, but the latest reports reveal that cholera continues to steal the lives of several hundred Haitians each week.

The HCJB team currently in country are physicians and nurses from a Quito hospital and a clinic operated by HCJB Global Hands. The team has been helping in Haiti for one week and plans to stay for another.

The team is working at a Samaritan's Purse clinic in Haiti to keep up healing results the clinic has seen so far. "The mortality rate [of cholera patients who come to facilities operated by] Samaritan's Purse is less than 0.7 percent, so the mortality is probably lower than in other treatment centers. They're very well organized," Dr. Richard Douce, an infectious diseases specialist and leader of the Haiti team, told HCJB.

The work has been rigorous thus far. "We try to replace whatever amount of water and electrolytes the patients lose because of diarrhea," Douce noted. A medical team headed by Dr. Mark Nelson in June administered 108 liters of IV fluids to a single patient before he recovered.

While taxing, the work is also incredibly rewarding. "I was involved in the cholera epidemic we had here (in Ecuador) in 1993. I found that while cholera is a tragedy, I very much enjoy saving lives," Douce told HCJB. "People arrive half dead, and they respond fairly rapidly to treatment."

Even more than that, the HCJB team is able to participate in eternal life-altering work. They are able to share Christ's love and compassion through their medical outreach and can further direct patients to the Truth with the help of Samaritan's Purse chaplains.

Cholera has taken many lives in Haiti, but there's hope for those with this easily-treatable disease. Pray that the HCJB team would be able to reach many with health and Good News while in Haiti.

HCJB Global Hands helps heal physical and spiritual wounds across the globe. Learn more about joining in the ministry here.

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