“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
“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.
This post is also available in: French