In the December 2 edition of The New York Times, columnist Nicholas Kristof reports on Haiti’s cholera outbreak from a medical facility supported by PIH and the Haitian Ministry of Health in Mirebalais, Haiti. Noting the grimness of the situation, Kristof reflects on the larger institutional and structural problems facing the country.
An emergency cholera hospital is the grimmest kind of medical center, and it’s a symbol of the succession of horrors that have battered Haiti over the last year.
Here in Haiti’s central plateau, I visited a cholera treatment center run by an excellent aid group, Partners in Health, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health. Nobody goes in or out without being thoroughly disinfected; to try to control the epidemic, bodies are buried rather than released to families…
Part of the problem is that the government, crippled by the quake, has done little. Another is that aid groups created a parallel state that further diminishes the government — and a country needs a central authority to make decisions. The limitations of aid are very much on display in Haiti.