The Deputy Secretary General of the UN and the Special Envoy for Haiti visit UNICEF’s Cholera frontline teams

The DSG visiting a family in L’Artibonite (Haiti)

 

 

 

The Deputy Secretary General of the UN and the Special Envoy for Haiti visit UNICEF’s Cholera frontline teams

Haiti, St Michel-de-l’Atalaye, November 4th 2017 – On the occasion of a three-day visit to Haiti, the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General (DSG), Ms. Amina J. Mohammed and the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Haiti, Ms. Josette Sheeran, visited UNICEF supported cholera and sanitation projects in the Artibonite department. Accompanied by UNICEF Representative Marc Vincent and other members of the office, the visitors came to witness an approach that combines rapid response with prevention in the fight against cholera, and which has yielded promising results over the past two years. The country is now seeing the lowest number of cases since the beginning of the epidemic in 2010. Yet much remains to be done.

According to latest DINEPA data, 72 percent of the Haitian population does not have access to adequate sanitation and 42 percent lacks adequate access to safe water while access to health care services is limited. One of the locations where access to water, sanitation and health care remains a challenge is Saint-Michel-de-l’Atalaye, one of the epidemic’s current hotspots and the destination of the field visit.

Upon arrival by helicopter, the delegation first visited a centre for the treatment of cholera and acute diarrhoea, and received a briefing from Ministry of health staff. Six patients, including two children were present showing the human face of the cholera bacteria. The visit left no doubt—one death from cholera, is one too much.

Following the treatment centre the delegation went on to observe the work of a rapid response team, managed by UNICEF partner Action against hunger. Within 48 hours after a suspected case of cholera is identified, teams decontaminate the affected household and those in its immediate vicinity, deliver emergency cholera packages—comprised of water purification tablets, ORS, and other hygiene products—and conduct sensitization/education outreach. The Special Envoy for Haiti has noted on a number of occasions, most recently with the Prime Minister of Haiti, that it is this innovative approach that has led to the dramatic reduction in the transmission of cholera. “These are the true heroes,” underlined the SE.

The visit concluded at the village of Peltam, one of the first communities to declare itself free from open-defecation. The UNICEF-supported Community Approach to Total Sanitation (ACAT), accompanies families in 16 high risk communes to eliminate open defecation. Its success is based on the commitment of the local population, especially their hygiene committee. Peltam’s hygiene committee is special – not only does it have an equal number of women and men, it also has two children as members.  “I wanted to do something for our future, and the hygiene committee allows me to get things done,” explains Adziz; who just turned 14. “In a couple of years, you will be seen as heroes.” Said Ms Mohammed. “The present is hard, but if you keep up the hard work it will pay off.”

Tackling cholera requires an integrated package. Surveillance, response and prevention, all three must be in place, and their respective weight adjusted in view of the evolving situation.

“2018 offers a unique opportunity for decisive steps in the battle against cholera”, stressed UNICEF Representative Marc Vincent. Cholera transmission has dropped dramatically from over 18,000 new cases per week at the onset of the epidemic to 250 per week this year, yet eliminating cholera will require more funding

“An average of between 150 and 250 women, children and men continue to be infected every week. We can and must stop this.” It appears that all major players agree on this.

On the first day of the visit, a High-Level Cholera Committee meeting was organized. The meeting served as an occasion for the Haitian Government and the UN representatives to jointly express their determination to achieve zero transmission of cholera. They reiterated their commitment to achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, including improving access to water, sanitation and healthcare.

At the conclusion of her trip, the DSG noted that “In our visit we saw community efforts by women, men and young people—some very young—who are involved in fighting cholera every day on the front lines. They are driving their own solutions, and together addressing the challenges of accessing water and sanitation. We saw this yesterday in Saint-Michel-de-l’Atalaye, where the community has empowered itself and come up with its own solutions to accessing sanitation by building toilets in many homes and in community spaces, and by supporting people who fall victim to cholera. When they succeed together, even on a small scale, it shows that they and we together can also succeed on a large scale—for all Haitians. They are the real heroes, and we must support them to end cholera in Haiti,” emphasized the DSG.

 

Using ‘’ Facts for life” through popular songs

A choregraphy with ”Facts for life ” themes

On Saturday, October 14th, in the margins of the celebration of the “Global Handwashing Day”, the Gymnasium Vincent (Port-au-Prince) was celebrating an important event for the good of the children: the launch of an album songs inspired by the manual “Facts for life” (“Konesans pou sove lavi”).

Taking into account the playful aspect of singing, its capacity to gather and to raise people’s awareness, beyond differences, this medium has been privileged to convey essential family practices to a large number of people.

Nearly 200 children from the “Orchid” group sang, danced and mimed the key messages contained in the 14 chapters of the document “Konesans pou sove lavi” through the festival called “A la bèl bagay se lasante” (Health is a beautiful thing).

The show was divided into two parts:

-That of singing on the rights of the child has seen nearly fifty children from several schools in the square and who shone one by one the rights of the child by turning in a circle.

– the second part featured a group of children dressed in peasant dress and carrying various provisions on their heads while dancing to the rhythm of the song on nutrition “Three kind of eats”. The room vibrated to the rhythm of the choreography of the tube music from the album “ala bel bagay se lasante” performed by children wearing different style outfits.

However, in the opinion of all, the performances were some more magnificent than the others and the actors outdid themselves to offer a colorful show that raised a collective enthusiasm communicative.

It should be noted that the idea of preparing an album of songs is part of a global strategy to promote essential family practices for the promotion of health and child development. These songs will be used primarily in the health clubs that are an integral part of this strategy and during the realization of various awareness activities.

In general, this album of songs is intended to be an important contribution to the Haitian community in its quest to have healthy Haitian children. It was designed in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health and Population to ensure that the messages on health and child development it contains are culturally accessible to all segments of the population. Note that the album was produced by the group “Hi” thanks to financial support from UNICEF in the framework of a partnership with the Institute Preventive Health, Environmental, and Community (SPEC).

Improving access and water quality for Matthew’s affected communities

Les Cayes, October 31, 2017– UNICEF Haiti, with the financial assistance of the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) and USAID, supports the National Directorate of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DINEPA) and the Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) for the implementation of a project to rehabilitate 9 water sources, 2 distribution networks and 5 artesian wells in the communes of Chantal and Saint-Louis du Sud (Southern Department), hit hard by Hurricane Matthew.

This project is part of the actions initiated by UNICEF and supported by its donors to strengthen the capacity of DINEPA whose mission is to implement the Haitian State’s policy in the water sector, hygiene and sanitation, so as to guarantee the right of the population, especially children and women, to have access to drinking water.

The activities of this project will also enable the inhabitants of the targeted communities to obtain useful information, through sensitization, on the good hygiene practices to adopt in order to protect themselves from diseases, such as cholera, related to the consumption of unsafe and contaminated water.

The people of the targeted communities were really enthusiastic and happy for the idea of finalizing the rehabilitation of these structures.

“Before the start of the rehabilitation work, the capture box of the river was filled with alluvium, now we are sure that there will be an improvement in the quality of the water after the interventions. We are satisfied with the work in progress “, says Micheline Jeanne Zeno, an authority of the locality of Mélonière.

“Through this project, UNICEF, supported by its donors, wants to contribute to strengthening the resilience of communities, including those isolated in the mountains and very hard to reach, in addition to being vulnerable to natural hazards, victims of Hurricane Matthew, “says Olivier Hounkou, WASH specialist at UNICEF.

Mobilization against cholera in public market

A sensitization team

The punching operation against cholera” continues through the West and Centre departments. The various partner organizations have sent their agents to public places to raise awareness about cholera. Public markets are especially strategic because there is a big number of people who go to these places every day.

It is noon this Thursday, October 12, around the market of Gerald Bataille, it is the big crowd, as always. The agents of the Mayor of Tabarre, selected to make the sensitization as part of the operation “punch against the cholera”, are already at work dressed in their green T-Shirt and Caps with slogan “Yon Ayiti san Kolera “(A Haiti without Cholera). For this session, a team of UNICEF and the French Red Cross accompany them.

The agents, very active and expressive, explain to people, the precautions they must take in order to avoid catching cholera. “You have to wash your hands in key moments, wash fruits and vegetables with treated water, cover food and drink clean water,” among other things, there are the messages conveyed. Leaflets on cholera are also distributed to people.

One of the merchants was full of praise for the field workers. “I am very happy to have all this knowledge about cholera. This will protect my family and myself. In addition, the explanations of the agents are clear and simple, “she explains.

Cholera is still present

Distribution of leaflets on cholera

“My job is to educate merchants, buyers by insisting that cholera is still there. And they must take precautions to avoid getting the disease by applying hygiene principles, “says Rolph Moise, one of the sensitization agent.

At the beginning it was not easy for outreach workers, because of a certain reluctance of people who did not want to listen to them. There was even hostility. “Now people are more receptive. They listen to what they are told. There is now some familiarity with them. Because we have been trained for work and we know how to approach them, “he continues.

A Behavior Change Strategy

The communication component of the “punch operation” focuses on changing the behavior of the population. This strategy engages and empowers communities and networks to influence or strengthen social norms; it uses all media (interpersonal, group, mass) to achieve its goal.

“Inter-personal communication is a strategic axis of the process of behavior change because it allows to discuss with individuals to understand the reasons for change. It is within this framework that this initiative has been introduced in the markets to reach a large number of people. “said Ghaffar Gomina, UNICEF Development Communication Specialist (C4D), adding that” community engagement is an effective way to strengthen behavior change “.

The main objective of the “punch operation” is to achieve a national incidence of less than 0.1% by the end of 2017. Awareness-raising activities also take place in the departments of the West, Artibonite and the Central Plateau. This project received financial support from the Embassy of Japan, the Canadian Embassy and the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund.

UNICEF: Press release

 

Port-au-Prince, 11 October 2017– UNICEF has learned with consternation the use of its name and logo for possible extortion. In fact, in the Arcahaie region and across the country, a false record is being circulated with names and addresses that are unrelated to UNICEF in one way or another. This sheet refers to the distribution of school kits for which fuel costs are charged.

Under no circumstances does UNICEF require money to provide a service to the population. UNICEF does not distribute lampposts or laptops as mentioned in the paper sheet. The organization is therefore calling on the population to be vigilant about the document bearing the UNICEF logo and name. Individuals and organizations should ensure that the document is from UNICEF.

UNICEF would like to recall that its main partner in the field of education is the Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training (MENFP). The Ministry chooses the list of schools to receive school kits distributed by UNICEF.

UNICEF relies on the Haitian government to fulfill its mandate, which is the well-being of all children, in all areas in which the organization is working. Under no circumstances does UNICEF work with individuals. UNICEF has a partnership with organizations that are legally recognized by the Ministry of Planning and External Cooperation.

UNICEF will continue to support vulnerable children and families across the country by going into the most remote areas in accordance with our principle of equity.

While rejecting the responsibilities that this false fact sheet may entail, UNICEF will inform the relevant authorities.

For Authentication

Marc Vincent

Representative

About UNICEF
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.

Pour plus d’information: 

Cornelia Walther, UNICEF Haiti Communication chief, cwalther@unicef.org

UNICEF: A year after Matthew

Students from a School in the South, rehabilitated by UNICEF with their new bags

Port-au-Prince, October 4, 2017 – One year after Matthew passed over the country and ravaged the South and Grand’Anse, the affected people are still healing their wounds. But there are also visible signs that life is trying to resume its course. The gardens are beginning to give fruit, some houses have been rebuilt. Even if the marks of the disaster are still there, Haitians want to move forward.

The courage of Haitian families and communities who have recovered from so many catastrophes is admirable. And UNICEF is proud to be one of the organizations that provide ongoing support to vulnerable families, especially the children.

As in the past, UNICEF was among the first to respond to the damage caused by Hurricane Matthew; as administrative procedures have been simplified, teams joined those already in the South more quickly. During emergencies, no waste of time. People needed everything, it was necessary to find means of protection for children in temporary shelters, distribute drinking water, provide nutrition services, control cholera – including the identification and treatment of suspected cases, and so many other needs to be filled, quickly.

UNICEF has worked with the Haitian government and partners to provide this humanitarian assistance as soon as possible. Matthew’s record has been catastrophic, the cyclone caused losses of life, houses destroyed and agriculture in these areas were devastated. People have coped with dignity. It is up to the humanitarian partners and the government to provide sustained support.

A UNICEF team in the field during a psycho-social activity

We take this opportunity to acknowledge the selflessness and courage of our UNICEF colleagues who, during this period of emergency, have been on all fronts. This is to help the organization fulfill its mandate of the well-being of children. We also thank all the donors, both institutional and individual, who allow our actions to go directly to the most vulnerable families and communities.

Getting up from a disaster is not easy. Especially since the conditions were already precarious in these places. However, it is necessary to continue the support to the population as well as the awareness on the risks linked to the disasters.

One year after Matthew, we are facing a choice; natural disasters have always existed, they will continue to exist (Irma and Maria, are still in the minds). Haiti, on the cyclone route, as well as other countries in the Atlantic, has no choice but to adapt. If we want to avoid the painful episodes caused by the vagaries of the weather, we must prepare ourselves.

The dialogue initiated by UNICEF through consultations with young people in Grand’Anse and in the South aimed to raise awareness of the issue of risk and disaster management. Many admitted that they did not know what to do during the cyclone. They thank UNICEF, because now they know. And they will spread their knowledge in their localities. The UReport project pursues a similar objective – To communicate with the country’s adolescents, collecting their impressions and providing information on a wider scale.

The interactive map, which is part of Togetherness (Ensemble) that we’re launching , reminds us through poignant photos and stories of the progress of the field support. They are no longer cold statistics but human faces. For we must not forget the impact on human beings, nor the role of these in recovery. We cannot afford to forget it.

Going to the most remote areas, to the most vulnerable communities to support the Government in the quest for basic social services that are accessible, is our goal. Before, during and after Matthew – our goal is to enable children to achieve their full potential, without distinction, as our motto says: “For every child …”

 

Marc Vincent

UNICEF Haiti Representative 

One year after Hurricane Matthew, Haiti’s children still vulnerable to natural disasters

A devastated locality in Grand’Anse

 

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 4 October 2017 – One year after Hurricane Matthew, a category 4 hurricane, devastated the Southwest of Haiti, causing loss of life and considerable damage, children and adolescents in the Caribbean country are still incredibly vulnerable to the effects of natural disasters and extreme weather events, UNICEF warned today.

“Hundreds of thousands of children had their lives turned upside down by Hurricane Matthew,” said UNICEF Representative Marc Vincent. “The courage and determination of families to recover and begin to rebuild their lives is admirable and UNICEF is proud to be one of the organizations continuing to support them.”

“After Matthew passed, I thought it would be virtually impossible to continue living. All the trees were uprooted … But people are beginning gradually to recover,” according to Bernard, 14, originally from Roche-à-Bateau, a southern commune badly affected by Matthew.

A water treatment and filtration plant in Grand’Anse, supported by UNICEF

In the immediate aftermath of the storm, UNICEF mobilized its staff on the ground to respond to the most urgent needs, sending emergency aid for affected children and families, including clean water and sanitation.

UNICEF, working with the Haitian Government and partners, has been able to carry out the following actions during the past 12 months:

  • More than 550,000 people have benefited from access to drinking water.
  • 120 schools damaged by the hurricane were rehabilitated, facilitating the return to school for more than 30,000 schoolchildren. 139 schools received more than 10,000 school furniture items and 26,000 children received psychosocial support.
  • More than 28,000 children benefited from psychosocial care, assistance and nutrition, health and hygiene education. More than 24,000 people received information on violence, child abuse and gender-based violence (GBV).
  • More than 160,000 children have been screened for malnutrition in the departments of the South and Grand’Anse in an ongoing screening program. The results show the need for continuing care with7,443 cases of acute malnutrition reported including 2,343 cases of severe acute malnutrition and 5,100 cases of moderate acute malnutrition.

 

In addition, UNICEF had organized a series of consultations with adolescents in Grand’Anse and the South to enable them to express their concerns and ideas about risk and disaster management, with the results shared with local authorities. .

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Notes for editors:

UReport: In order, not only to inform but also to listen to young people, UNICEF Haiti has just integrated the global initiative UReport. The focus will be on child protection in Haiti. To access:  https://ureport.in/

Interactive Map: The experience of staff and communities in affected areas is also visible on an interactive map that gives details of actions and needs on the ground. To access it visit: http://bit.ly/2yNoYbA

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children visit www.unicef.org.

For photo and video content please visit here.

Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook

For more information, please contact:

Cornelia Walther, Chief of Communication, UNICEF Haiti, cwalther@unicef.org

Joe English, UNICEF New York, +1 917 893 0692 jenglish@unicef.org

 

 

International Conference on Social Protection in Contexts of Fragility and Forced Displacement

Displaced people during hurricane Matthew

 

UNICEF supported the Haitian Government for participation in the International Conference on Social Protection in Contexts of Fragility and Forced Displacement (Brussels, 28-29 September 2017).

UNICEF and the European Commission (ECHO / DEVCO), together with key partners (FAO, WFP, WB, Governments, including DFID, Finland, Germany) are organizing this Conference to guide the prospects for using social protection systems in these contexts.

The Conference will focus on improving the living conditions, livelihoods and social inclusion of affected populations, including children, refugees, internally displaced populations, who are often highly vulnerable and are not benefiting fundamental human rights.

In October 2016, Hurricane Matthew severely worsened the pre-existing humanitarian situation in Haiti, affecting more than 2 million people, with 1.4 million people in need of humanitarian assistance. Despite the immediate response, humanitarian needs persist: more than 2.35 million people are facing severe acute food insecurity; 31 camps continue to host 46,691 internally displaced people due to the 2010 earthquake; and 6,941 cases of cholera are identified.

The humanitarian challenges of prolonged fragility due to natural disasters and poverty-related social crises in all its dimensions underscore the need to bridge the gap between humanitarian action and development. This is essential to the realization of the human rights and well-being of all children and families in Haiti.

Towards social protection services

The Government of Haiti continues to make efforts to establish social protection mechanisms. Nevertheless, existing interventions remain fragmented and poorly hedged, and the relevance and feasibility of a coherent and comprehensive social protection system depends strongly on a strong institutional anchor. To this end, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor (MAST) is currently leading a process for the development of a National Social Protection Policy.

Displaced people

Social protection initiatives aimed at reducing poverty and inequality. They can reduce the risk of social unrest, and consequently ensure greater social peace.

Combining social and economic impacts also contributes to building resilience: building the capacity of poor households to better cope, respond and resist crises.

The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 1) stipulates that the international community is committed to expanding coverage of social protection measures for all and ensuring substantial coverage of the poor and vulnerable by 2030. This extension should include social protection in contexts of fragility and forced displacement in order to avoid exclusion.

Similarly, development actors recognize the importance of Social Protection at the 2016 World Health Summit (WHS) and commit to “increasing social protection programs and strengthening national and local systems and adaptation in order to enhance resilience in fragile contexts.”

Although the establishment of effective social protection in the context of protracted fragility and displaced populations is more complex, experience suggests that social protection plays an important role both in the humanitarian dimension and in development – particularly in times of critical transition.

UNICEF distributes equipment as part of “punch operation”

The partners of ”punch operation”

The punch operation is a new strategy against cholera underway in the departments of the West, Centre. Its main objective is to “achieve a national incidence of “<0.1% by the end of 2017” and specifically to “reduce transmission as low as possible before the high transmission season (September to December) in terms to be closer the objective of elimination “.

The Ministry of Public Health (MSPP), with technical and financial support from UNICEF, emphasizes community mobilization and engagement of local authorities. To do this, two strategies have been put in place:

  • One with the town halls during which nine town halls of the department of the West deployed 25 sensitizing agents in about 20 markets of the city. In addition, outreach activities are carried out by city council officials in community organization and funeral businesses in order to reduce the risk of contamination following poorly managed deaths.
  • The other with local organizations that make itinerant communication in bus stations with public transport vehicles and in churches with high concentration of people.

To accompany all these communication activities, UNICEF distributed awareness-raising materials to partners in order to intensify the fight against cholera.

It was in the UNICEF warehouse, side that the distribution took place in the presence of representatives of the Haitian state and of organizations involved in the fight against cholera. The material contains flyers, stickers, educational cholera boards, t-shirts, caps, bags, posters and megaphones.

Partners strengthen the fight

In a short speech, Dr. Nathan Zéphirin, Technical Advisor in the Health Decentralization Support Unit (UADS), said that the MSPP cannot win this fight without the collaboration of the partners.

Loading of a part of the material

“We are counting on you, especially as part of this activity, to raise awareness, so that we can definitively eliminate cholera in Haiti, by 2022 as defined in the cholera elimination plan. “He insisted. He went on to say special thanks to UNICEF, which “has been a constant partner in the fight against cholera”.

For his part, Paul Christian Namphy, National Cholera Response Coordinator for the National Directorate for Drinking Water and Sanitation (DINEPA), insisted on the concrete actions to be taken on the ground in order to put an end to the disease. In particular, he emphasized the support of the population to change their behavior.

Further, he insisted on the gestures that can help to eliminate cholera: washing hands in key moments, drinking treated water, going to the toilet. “DINEPA, the MSPP and the governmental wardship bodies, we will together ensure with you of this victory,” he addressed the organizations.

A new strategy

The communication component of this ‘’punch operation” against cholera pursues two key objectives: engaging local authorities; strengthen community participation in awareness-raising activities for behavioral change.

Beyond the community mobilization phase, the operation also includes an action phase. 15 additional rapid response teams are deployed in the western department and are able to respond to more than 85% of suspected cases and to strengthen prevention, mobilization and awareness.

 

Back to school. Back to normality. Nearly

Fort-Liberté. September 11th – It is Monday. One week after the school year started officially in Haiti, schools are once again making a timid effort to reopen their doors. Everyone is eager to turn the page on Irma, yet reality hasn’t quite caught up yet. Even though 12 out of the 13 shelters were evacuated yesterday to ensure that schools can reopen today, some of them are not ready to host their students.

The student of the Lycée Duty Boukman resume their classes. This school served as a temporary shelter for a short time.

Together with UNICEF colleague Brice, school inspectors and NGO partners, I am part of a joint assessment mission whose purpose is to find out which schools have been flooded or damaged during Irma. The ambition is to focus the limited resources where they are most needed, to make sure that all students can get back to the classroom quickly.

But the challenge goes beyond school infrastructure. “Many of our teachers and the families of our students have seen their homes flooded during Irma. They are not in school because they are busy recuperating what can be saved.” Explains us Maitre Jean Baptiste, the director of Mebane school. Indeed out of the six schools that my team visits three didn’t have students today, and the others had only a small part of their usual effectif.

All the students have yet to resume classes

Access is another issue. Already challenging to reach in the dry season some schools are circled in by mud and small streams as a consequence of heavy rainfall. In the attempt to reach the school of Beudoux, on top of our list because of reported damages, our car gets stuck twice. And only the expertise of Gabrielle our experienced driver saved us from pushing to the shore.

Irma has lifted the fine veil on existing vulnerabilities. “I came to the shelter because the place where I live was flooded. My parents died during the 2010 earthquake, so now I stay with the woman I work for. To make a living I am transporting things from Haiti to the Dominican Republic and back. It’s a while that I haven’t gone to school. It’s too expensive.” Explains Renel, 14 years old. He came to the shelter and once it closed he returned to his life at the margin of society…

The schools, roads, homes that are most affected by Irma are those that were struggling already before. In St Martin, the Storm was strong and crushed solid infrastructure; in Haiti it was soft und weakened further what was fragile before. Mother Nature is giving us another nudge, another lesson on the vital importance of structural investment to unveil Haiti’s sleeping potential. Irma today is not about emergency relief, but about a thorough commitment to local communities. UNICEF is supporting them on their way back, back to school, back to normality, forward to the Future.

 

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