The rainy season has always brought troubles for the Haitian people: flooding, mudslides, malaria, and in recent years, deadly cholera. Now there’s a new outbreak spreading across the country, Chikungunya fever.
Our St. Damien Pediatric Hospital programs have seen an increase in patients, stretching as usual to meet overwhelming need. Our ability to serve the many seeking treatment depends on the funds to buy fluids and medications, and our ability to maintain these overflowing structures. We wanted you, our friends, to be aware of this great new need.
The name Chikungunya means “to become contorted” or “to bend up” because the pain caused by the virus is so intense that all you can do is hold your aching joints and wait for it to be over. Haitians have adopted the name kraze le zo or “breaking bone” in Creole.
There is no anti-viral treatment for Chikungunya fever, and no vaccine, but one can treat the symptoms. While rarely fatal with proper treatment, many Haitians don’t have access to or can’t afford reliable healthcare, putting them at risk for severe dehydration and chronic pain that lasts for days or even months. It can be particularly dangerous for the very young and the elderly.
Thank you as always for your friendship and support. Please donate, it is a great comfort to know that we can count on you.
Father Rick Frechette, National Director NPH Haiti