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Project HOPE Says Health Needs Persist in Haiti after Hurricane Matthew; Vows to Support Health System on 7th Anniversary of Earthquake

/EIN News/ -- MILLWOOD, Va., Jan. 12, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On the 7th anniversary of the Haiti earthquake, Project HOPE vows to continue efforts to help rebuild Haiti's health system after Hurricane Matthew compromised progress made to the health sector during the years following the devastating earthquake in 2010.

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HOPE medical volunteers were deployed in the critical first weeks and months after Matthew roared ashore in October to assist in direct patient care, assess health capacity needs including cholera response, and to support health workers at the St. Therese Hospital in Nippes.

"The hospital staff have to do a lot with limited resources and having additional support after a disaster can save lives. Even though Haiti isn't in the headlines anymore, there are still major health capacity needs there," said volunteer nurse, Michele Okamoto Bobosky.

The global health NGO said efforts must continue to prevent future disease outbreaks, including cholera. To that end, HOPE announced plans to build a cholera treatment center to improve health capacity at the 60-bed St. Therese Hospital in the city of Miragoane.

The cholera treatment center will bring together best practices from similar facilities in Haiti and other treatment centers around the world. It will use renewable energy and a renewable energy distribution system. The center will strengthen the health system by allowing doctors to treat a normal case load of cholera and other diarrheal diseases throughout the year, and support a large response in the event of a cholera outbreak in the region.

"Haiti had made significant gains rebuilding the health sector after the devastating earthquake of 2010. Six years later, Hurricane Matthew unleashed more destruction and shock on communities here. Countless people continue to be impacted in terms of health care and Project HOPE is committed to help build health capacity," said Andrea Dunne-Sosa, Regional Director of the Americas at Project HOPE.

Since the storm hit the Caribbean nation last October, HOPE has provided donated medicines and medical supplies valued at $7.68 million and works in collaboration with the Ministry of Health to ensure that aid reaches those in need.

According to the Ministry of Health, at least 729,000 people have been vaccinated against cholera in the two most heavily affected regions since October and more than 5,800 suspected cholera cases have been reported.  The World Health Organization says 1.4 million people are still in need of humanitarian assistance and tens of thousands are still living in shelters.

Repeated cholera outbreaks present an ongoing challenge in Haiti.  Since the earthquake of 2010, Project HOPE has sent medical volunteers to train and assist local health care professionals in areas affected by cholera. HOPE also collaborated with other NGOs and the U.S. Agency for International Development to implement a program that provided a full range of medical services for disabled persons from in-home care and therapy to advanced surgical interventions.  The NGO also distributed more than $60 million of medicines and supplies to hospitals and clinics in Haiti and along the border with the Dominican Republic within the year following the earthquake.

About Project HOPE

Founded in 1958, Project HOPE (Health Opportunities for People Everywhere) is dedicated to providing lasting solution to health problems with the mission of helping people to help themselves. Identifiable to many by the SS HOPE, the world's first peacetime hospital ship, Project HOPE now provides medical training and health education, and conducts humanitarian assistance programs in more than 30 countries. Visit our website projecthope.org and follow us on Twitter @projecthopeorg. 

Photos accompanying this release are available at:
http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=42067
http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=42068

CONTACT: Geraldine Carroll
         Project HOPE
         Tel. (540)-257-3746

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Distribution channels: Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals