Haiti has the highest prevalence of TB in the Western Hemisphere with 366 cases per 100,000 population or 36,000 people with active TB. The crowded urban areas around Port-au-Prince are the most severely affected, accounting for half of all TB cases. In 2008, GHESKIO conducted a study on the prevalence of multi-drug resistant TB in the Port au Prince area, and found that 3% of all TB cases are multi-drug resistant. The 2010 earthquake exacerbated the situation when four of the major TB treatment centers collapsed, and thousands of patients interrupted their therapy and dispersed to crowded tent cities. An estimated 3,000 TB patients stopped their medications and dispersed to crowded refugee camps. As a result, the TB incidence in Port-au-Prince doubled and an outbreak of MDR-TB resulted. In response, GHESKIO opened a 100-bed TB tent field hospital in May 2010 and increased its TB treatment capacity from 600 to 1,800 patients per year. In 2012, GHESKIO documented a rate of 768 TB cases/100,000 in the neighboring “City of God”. This year GHESKIO will open a 33 bed MDR-TB hospital adjacent to its BSL3 laboratory facility. GHESKIO is preparing for trials of a new recombinant TB vaccine and evaluation of new promising TB treatment drugs.
A patient at the TB hospital after the 2010 earthquake.