How Haiti Combats Cholera


The UNICEF site explains that in the past year, the Southern Department of Haiti has seen a dramatic reduction in the number of cholera cases. Here are excerpts:

ACTED is one of UNICEF’s key partners in the strategy to support the Haitian government’s national plan for the elimination of cholera. The organization is part of a network of NGOs that UNICEF has created to fight cholera. Having this network in place means better coordination among all stakeholders, which, in turn, means faster response and expanded prevention activities. According to the cholera coordinator for UNICEF, Claudia Evers, “The key actors who are now involved in the fight against cholera – and not only those who are supported by UNICEF – coordinate, talk, share responsibility. [. . .]

A three-pillar strategy

Samuel Beaulieu is in charge of the ACTED programme for the southern part of Haiti. The fight against cholera is based on three pillars, he says – epidemiological surveillance, investigation and rapid response. With surveillance in place, interventions can focus on areas in which cholera persists. There are three mobile teams that can be dispatched at any time, when an alert has been raised. ACTED holds awareness-raising activities in schools, markets and churches and through community associations. In fact, ACTED and the National Directorate of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DINEPA) have conducted 135 campaigns that have reached 68,000 people across the Southern Department.

Samuel credits these and other actions of partners in the field for a dramatic reduction of cases of cholera in Southern Department – 71.5 per cent over the course of the past year. “But, do not forget the weather,” he says. “The rainy season arrived much later.”

[. . .] The network of NGO partners like ACTED is fundamental in the fight against cholera in support of the Haitian government. A challenge over the coming months will be taking advantage of the dry season, when there are few cases and there should be opportunity to put preventive measures in place.

In the meantime, Exile and his team are ready, and busy. “Beyond the professional aspect,” he says, “the most important part of my work is the human side. It allows me to be closer to the population.

“When lives are saved, you seem to be useful to the community,” he continues. “There is no time to sleep. We must be ready to intervene at any time. When there is an alert, you must visit the scene as soon as possible and ensure that others are not contaminated.”

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