Monday June 25, 2018

Fighting Cholera Urgent Part of Haiti’s Hurricane Recovery, say Doctors

Cholera is treatable, and the most common and dangerous symptom is dehydration

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The daughter of 84-year-old Armant Germain replaces the sheets on her bed, in the cholera ward at a hospital in Les Cayes Haiti, Oct. 11, 2016. VOA
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October 12, 2016: As Haiti continues to count its dead and assess damage following devastating Hurricane Matthew, doctors and public health officers warn the risk of cholera must urgently be addressed.

Unprecedented flooding, particularly in the hard-hit southwestern peninsula, has contaminated already-scarce safe drinking water, drastically increasing the risk of a cholera outbreak. Once contracted, dehydration caused by cholera can kill children in as quickly as six hours.

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“Essentially, the battle against cholera is sometimes a race against time,” said Dr. Unni Krishnan of Save the Children. “It’s a very fast killer and we need to act quickly.”

Dr. Krishnan has worked around Haiti for 10 years, travelling to wherever he is most needed. He is currently working in Les Cayes, the city the hardest hit last week by Hurricane Matthew.

“When you come to some of the impacted areas you realise how bad the situation is,” he told VOA. “It’s something which can never be truly captured in words or pictures.”

A worker prepares serum at a cholera center in Anse D'Hainault, Haiti, Oct. 11, 2016. VOA
A worker prepares serum at a cholera center in Anse D’Hainault, Haiti, Oct. 11, 2016. VOA

Contaminated drinking water

Contamination of drinking water is far from the only thing increasing the risk of cholera throughout Haiti.

Among many others, Dr. Krishnan said a lack of privacy due to destroyed homes has resulted in women breast feeding less often, and breast milk is a powerful natural antidote to cholera for infants.

Cholera is treatable, and the most common and dangerous symptom is dehydration. But lack of infrastructure and hospitals, made worse by the hurricane damage, could make combating an epidemic difficult for Haiti.

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“For context, we are talking about a country with one of the weakest health systems in this part of the world,” Dr. Krishnan said, emphasising that many medical centres were destroyed or rendered non-functional due to the storm damage.

The hope for Haiti in the face of cholera lies in lessons learned, following a 2010 earthquake, after which Haiti suffered the worst cholera outbreak in modern history, according to the Center for Disease Control. Nearly 10,000 people in Haiti died of the treatable disease.

The international community bears the burden as well. The U.N. publicly took responsibility for bringing Virbrio cholerae, the bacteria which causes cholera, through Nepalese peacekeepers who went to the island nation following the earthquake.

United Nations police from Bangladesh deliver drinking water to residents of Sous-Roche village, outside Les Cayes, Haiti, Oct. 11, 2016. VOA
United Nations police from Bangladesh deliver drinking water to residents of Sous-Roche village, outside Les Cayes, Haiti, Oct. 11, 2016. VOA

New UN measures

A spokesman for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the U.N. needs to do “much more” to address the cholera epidemic in Haiti, and promised a “significant new set of U.N. actions” to respond to the crisis, probably in two months or less. On Tuesday, the World Health Organization announced it is sending one million doses of oral cholera vaccine to Haiti.

Vaccinating all 10 million Haitians on the island would cost over $100 million, according to the American Council on Science and Health.

“That said, when you break something in a store, you have to buy it,” Dr. Julianna LeMieux of ACSH wrote on their website. “It’s time for the international body to give its health experts the financial support they need to correct the catastrophe it created.”

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While Dr. Krishnan did not specifically call out one organization to bear responsibility for the crisis, he urged the international community to be aware of how complex and dire the situation on the ground is.

“Haiti needs all the attention and support it can get now,” he said. (VOA)

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FIFA World Cup 2018: Indian Cuisine becomes the most sought after in Moscow

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Indian cuisine in FIFA World cup
Indian dishes available in Moscow during FIFA World Cup 2018, representational image, wikimedia commons

June 17, 2018:

Restaurateurs Prodyut and Sumana Mukherjee have not only brought Indian cuisine to the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018 here but also plan to dish out free dinner to countrymen if Argentina wins the trophy on July 15.

Based in Moscow for the last 27 years, Prodyut and Sumana run two Indian eateries, “Talk Of The Town” and “Fusion Plaza”.

You may like to read more on Indian cuisine: Indian ‘masala’, among other condiments spicing up global food palate.

Both restaurants serve popular Indian dishes like butter chicken, kebabs and a varied vegetarian spread.

During the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

The Mukherjees, hailing from Kolkata, are die-hard fans of Argentina. Despite Albiceleste drawing 1-1 with Iceland in their group opener with Lionel Messi failing to sparkle, they believe Jorge Sampaoli’s team can go the distance.

“I am an Argentina fan. I have booked tickets for a quarterfinal match, a semifinal and of course the final. If Argentina goes on to lift

During the World Cup, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia
FIFA World Cup 2018, Wikimedia Commons.

“We have been waiting for this World Cup. Indians come in large numbers during the World Cup and we wanted these eateries to be a melting point,” he added.

According to Cutting Edge Events, FIFA’s official sales agency in India for the 2018 World Cup, India is amongst the top 10 countries in terms of number of match tickets bought.

Read more about Indian cuisine abroad: Hindoostane Coffee House: London’s First Indian Restaurant.

Prodyut came to Moscow to study engineering and later started working for a pharmaceutical company here before trying his hand in business. Besides running the two restaurants with the help of his wife, he was into the distribution of pharmaceutical products.

“After Russia won the first match of the World Cup, the footfall has gone up considerably. The Indians are also flooding in after the 6-9 p.m. game. That is the time both my restaurants remain full,” Prodyut said.

There are also plans to rope in registered fan clubs of Latin American countries, who will throng the restaurants during matches and then follow it up with after-game parties till the wee hours.

“I did get in touch with some of the fan clubs I had prior idea about. They agreed to come over and celebrate the games at our joints. Those will be gala nights when both eateries will remain open all night for them to enjoy,” Prodyut said.

Watching the World Cup is a dream come true for the couple, Sumana said.

“We want to make the Indians who have come here to witness the spectacle and feel at home too. We always extend a helping hand and since we are from West Bengal, we make special dishes for those who come from Bengal,” she added. (IANS)