PORT-AU-PRINCE – Haiti launched a vaccination campaign against diphtheria on Monday, a disease that has caused three deaths so far this year in the country.
Authorities said that more than 1 million people will be vaccinated between April 9-14 and that about 6,000 medical personnel have been mobilized for the campaign.
The campaign will cover all areas affected by the disease. As of March, 60 probable cases of diphtheria have been identified, 20 of which are confirmed and 60 percent of them are women.
A budget of 169 million Haiti gourdes ($2.6 million) was allocated for the operating costs of the campaign, excluding the cost of the vaccines, according to the Ministry of Health.
The reappearance of the disease in this impoverished Caribbean country has caused panic among its citizens, while authorities of the neighboring Dominican Republic declared an epidemiological alert last month, following a case of a diphtheria-infected 4-year-old Haitian boy who traveled to the country and died shortly after arriving, apparently because of the disease.
However, the Dominican authorities have ruled out any cases of diphtheria in the country at present.