Earthquake In Haiti: Medical Challenges that Can Erupt

Earthquake in Haiti

 The strongest earthquake in more than 200 years rocked Haiti yesterday sweeping away thousands of lives in no time. Several hospitals were reported seriously damaged, and others are swamped with casualties. One of the major concerns now is the medical/health problems that can erupt as a consequence of this disaster. The fact that Haiti is an underdeveloped nation, lacking sufficient number of hospitals and accesses to medical facilities graves this problem even more. The country is already one of the world’s poorest, rated 146 out of 177 on the UN’s Human Development Index (HDI). The rescue operation should be immediately followed by medication but the limited number of hospitals and health services in the region may complicate the situation.

The Medical/Health Problems that can arise in this situation are:

1. Sanitation Problems: It is quite obvious that problems of sanitation may evolve in this situation. As a result of shortage of clean drinking water several water-borne diseases like diarrhea, typhoid, cholera, etc. can spread in that area. Also due to overcrowding conditions, existing contagious diseases may spread quickly.

2. Malnutrition: Many parts of Haiti were already suffering from malnutrition. Now, the shortage of food supply and other diseases like diarrhea can trigger malnutrition.

3. Malaria: There are high risks of outbreak of bacterial and mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue and malaria.

4. Recovery Problems: The disaster will be followed by mental trauma and various injuries among the victims. These injuries can make victims susceptible to more dangerous disease if not treated in time.

5. Impact on administration of other diseases: Major of the health services in Haiti were actively involved in treatment and prevention of helminth and parasite diseases like elephantiasis. Since the medical facilities are limited there may be problems in treatment of these preventable diseases which can be disastrous as well.

What can I do to help ?
Various agencies have taken their step forward for collecting donations from their own region. You can contribute to following organisations:
1. American Red Cross
2. British Red Cross
3. International Medical Corps
4. Medical Teams International
5. Hope for Haiti
6. Partners in Health
7. Doctors without Borders

One Response
  1. January 20, 2010