By Daniel Dieujuste
PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti (HCNN) -- Haitian health authorities have reported a significant decrease in cases of cholera in Haiti in early 2014, compared to the number of cases reported during the same period last year, as they promised to vaccinate this year some 500,000 people in at risk areas, with the aim of eradicating the scourge in the Caribbean country.
The director-general of the ministry of public health and population, Dr Raymond Guirlaine Charite, said that, as of the third week of 2014, 119 cases, including 75 hospitalized and 3 deaths were counted, compared to 1,460 cases that included 955 hospitalized and 12 deaths for the same period in 2013.
"This proves that the strategies we have put in place are providing results in the fight against cholera,'' Charite told HCNN, inviting the population to be cautious given the ongoing threat, particularly in certain regions considered at risk.
''We find that there still are points where the effects of cholera are felt and we call on the population to be cautious," said Charite.
"At the beginning of this year, we have already registered 17 towns where there are people who contracted cholera," she said.
Those districts are located in the West department, the Artibonite, the Central Plateau, the Southeast and South regions, according to officials.
In 2014, the Ministry of Public Health plans to vaccinate 500,000 people in particularly at risk or remote areas, especially those with difficult access to health treatment centers.
The department plans to intensify projects of public latrines and potable water, education and awareness campaigns, among other things, to encourage people to change their behaviour, which will prevent the further spread of the cholera epidemic in the country.
Actions are also being taken across the border toward the eradication of cholera on the island of Hispaniola.
The cholera epidemic, which presented in Haiti in mid-October 2010, just months after the passage of the devastating earthquake that killed nearly 300,000 people in the country, has already killed more than 8,300 people and infected hundreds of thousands more.
Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe last year called on the United Nations to assume its responsibilities for the cholera epidemic in Haiti and to make funds available to Haiti to help eradicate the epidemic.