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Bringing ACAT into isolated localities

 

The Wash facilitator talking with some members of the ACAT Committee

With funding from the Japanese people, UNICEF is conducting open defecation fight’ activities in various hard to reach communities. In the locality of Lauranette, commune of Cerca-la-Source, in the Centre’ department, the population has practically eliminated open defecation. This represents a considerable progress, as in the past, cholera was wreaking havoc in the area. The inhabitants are now very satisfied with the results and thank the Japanese people for their valuable contribution.

Cerca-la-Source, Haiti.,03 October 2018 – It rained the night before, so taking the road to go to Lauranette (2nd communal section of Losianne), is not a party of pleasure. The ground is very muddy, and the road can easily become a trap for any vehicle, however robust. Reaching this locality in such circumstances is therefore a difficult task, but it does not discourage the World Vision agent, a UNICEF partner for the project ” Strengthening cholera prevention in the Central Department ‘.

A latrine built by the community

“We are conducting hygiene awareness sessions for the community. Before launching the Community Approach to Total Sanitation (ACAT), we organized visits, mobilized and verified that the area is ready before starting the process. In doing so, we invite community members to join us to get involved “says Zacharie Porpote, WASH facilitator at World Vision for the area.

In collaboration with the population, the facilitators set up an ‘’Action and Monitoring Committee for Sanitation’’ (CASA). Their role is to make a census of toilets in the community. “The committee mobilizes and educates people who do not have toilets  on the importance to buildim them. People have been very enthusiastic and dynamic. They started working from day one “he continues.

The enthusiasm of the community was crucial

This enthusiasm is expressed in the person of Mrs. Elula Jean, ASEC (the local authority) of the communal section. She a driving force for ACAT’ success, raising awareness and motivating people. “I remind residents about the devastation cholera has caused in the community before the construction of toilets. I ask them to dig latrines with the means they have, even if these means are derisory. If possible, I support them to feed the workers and I lend them tools, “she explains.

“There has been a lot of improvement when you considering the previous situation. But it’s an everyday struggle to make life easier for people. There are now many more latrines in the community and since then there is no more cholera, “she continues. Many people have died of cholera in the locality as it takes a long time to get out of the area. Thus the population understood the importance of using toilets and adopting adequate hygiene measures.

“We congratulate the people of Japan and UNICEF for making this contribution in the community. They allow us to protect our lives as well as those of our children. I encourage them to always work in the field because they have helped us a lot. Without this help, we do not know where we would be right now, “she recalls.

A project with many aspects

Water point were built in the Centre department

These activities, financed by Japan in the Center department and notably in Cerca-la-Source, cover several aspects, including the rehabilitation or construction of water supply facilities in 17 communities and peri-urban settlements, creation and training. water, hygiene and sanitation committees; the implementation of the ACAT approach in 100 rural communities and an appropriate sanitation approach in 20 peri-urban areas; building WASH infrastructure in schools as well as promoting hygiene.

“At UNICEF, we are very pleased with the funding of this project, as it will enable vulnerable families and children to benefit from water and sanitation (WASH) services in the Centre’ Department. It will save the lives of children and help us fight waterborne diseases, including cholera. Once again, we thank the Japanese people for helping us accomplish our mission, “said Maria Luisa Fornara, UNICEF Representative in Haiti.

Increase access to water through reforestation

Community involvement in the project

UNICEF with a contribution from USAID is implementing water rehabilitation projects in several departments of the country. One of the important components of this program is the reforestation around water catchment sources to protect and facilitate recharge of the water table and to allow people to have water in sufficient quantity and quality.

In the South, the implementing partner of the project, the Dutch Red Cross, goes to the most remote places by carrying out this program, with the support of DINEPA.

Cayes, September 18, 2018- The locality Mulat (3rd Boni) commune of Tiburon, is one of the beneficiaries. It is a very difficult place to access, and the steep terrain makes it even more difficult to access drinking water. Under the supervision of DINEPA, the Dutch Red Cross, with the support of UNICEF and USAID, conducts drinking water supply activities, such as the construction of a catchment source, a reservoir and fountains to draw water.

On the other hand, reforestation activities are carried out to ensure the sustainability of the project. One of the project leaders at the community level, Saurel Vital, Casec of the section, does not hide his satisfaction as to the realization of the project. “There has been a lot of improvement in the water situation. It was not drinkable and the animals used to soil the water because the source was not protected, “he says.

“It is of utmost importance to plant trees. Our community had a very large vegetation cover. Hurricane Matthew has uprooted the clear majority of trees, making the community extremely vulnerable. The Dutch Red Cross has carried out reforestation projects around built water sources which will help preserve this structure, “he says.

The organization distributed 16,082 seedlings to residents of rehabilitated sources, including 11,900 fruit trees and 4,182 foresters, and organized training sessions on environmental protection. For the entire project, 14 hectares have been reforested on the protection perimeter of 6 sources including 3 hectares in the Mulat area with 2,148 trees including 1,500 fruit trees and 848 forest trees.

“There has been a lot of improvement in our lives since this water project. In addition, we are better aware of the importance of trees. We have received training on tree planting techniques and we will plant a lot more, “said one of the residents. As part of the project 120 people from communities were trained on planting techniques for regrowth trees.

Community involvement made the difference

Everybody was involved

The community quickly became involved in the reforestation project. They participated in the construction of a fence around the catchment source, cleaned up weeds, and sensitized people to prevent animals to eat seedlings. They will continue to plant trees well after the departure of the Dutch Red Cross.

“We welcomed this project with a lot of warmth, everyone was involved. We have set up a volunteer service. The community took part in the transportation of the equipment because it is very far away. Now it is up to us to perpetuate this project. We are making them responsible because the project belongs to us now, “says Vital.

An important project

Joesmy Louis, Agronomist and Livelyhood Coordinator at the Dutch Red Cross, emphasizes the importance of planting specific tree species to help recharge the water table. The trainings allowed people to plant seedlings they had prepared themselves.

To combat the drought that threatened the trees, artisanal techniques were implemented, such as the use of water can on the root of the trees on a regular basis, straws to reduce the impact of the sun.

“People have not been paid to plant the trees. They got up very early, drum in hand in a festive atmosphere, with the participation of everyone for this reforestation movement, “he says. The blending of fruit trees has helped to increase the interest of the population.

A very isolated locality

An important project for the community

The locality of Mulat culminates several hundred meters high. Nestled in the mountains, it is virtually inaccessible. It takes a good driver and a solid off-road car to get there. Because the road is very narrow, traced by the population with the means of the edge, that is to say, nothing.

The big rocks are everywhere, with the sheer cliffs that are ready, worry is omnipresent for all passengers. The road resists even the inevitable motorcycles, they are not seen on the road. The living conditions are very difficult for residents.

Maria Luisa Fornara, UNICEF Representative in Haiti, says that access to clean water helps protect families, especially children from disease.

“In line with the principles of equity that guide UNICEF, our interventions are done across the country. With a focus on hard to reach places where the population is very vulnerable. We thank the Haitian government for its support and the people of the United States for this funding which has allowed us to facilitate access to drinking water for these families, “she concludes.

The vegetal cover around the sources plays several roles. In fact, forest soils retain the rainwater that makes its way to the aquifers, allowing them to be recharged. Riparian forests avoid runoff of acidic soils in freshwater lakes and rivers that would be highly affected. They reduce floods, limit floods, prevent soil erosion.

 

Fight drought in remote Southern communities

A water tank at Ti Plaine ( South departement)

The locality of Tiplaine, located in the Southern department, has suffered greatly from drought episodes. Its isolation makes the situation of people living even more difficult in terms of access to drinking water. UNICEF, with a contribution from USAID, together with the Dutch Red Cross, has rehabilitated the water system in the area, including building a catchment, a reservoir, a water system capable of to feed the residents through fountains. All under the supervision of the National Directorate of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DINEPA).

They do not know how to thank the donors, because now it’s a relief for everyone, so much has life changed in the locality. Training for plumbers makes the network sustainable.

Cayes, 17 September 2018- A broad smile cuts the face of Smart Joseph, ASEC (a local authority) of Tiplaine, when she speaks of the water network of the locality.

“Before the installation of the network, the situation was untenable within the area in terms of water. The place where we used to draw water was very unhealthy, there were a lot of rocks, trees were everywhere and it was very difficult for us. For some people, they had to walk more than an hour, back and forth. There were many people who drew water and the flow was very low, “she recalls.

The water was not drinkable

Not to mention the poor quality of water that was not drinkable and that was a source of illness of any kind for the population, especially children. The water was drawn from the ground. People caught all kinds of illnesses. The children had pimples on the skin and on the scalp as well as waterborne diseases. In the case of women, they faced a serious problem in terms of personal hygiene.

Josette Blanc, one of the beneficiaries and mother of three children, remembers all the difficulties she encountered to be able to draw water that was not even drinkable. “The situation was so critical that we did not know what to do. It was God who sent UNICEF, USAID, the Red Cross and DINEPA otherwise we would all already be dead because the cholera was wreaking havoc “, she admits.

She had serious skin problems because of the water. “Now my skin is healthy and I am cured because of the new water network,” she says.

People are more than satisfied

A Red Cross technician conducting control quality

“With the arrival of UNICEF, the Red Cross, USAID and DINEPA who built this network, the situation has improved considerably, we no longer face the same problems. It’s different, kids are healthier, “she says.

People welcomed the project with open arms, she said. Other areas started work well before them. But their enthusiasm and energy allowed them to finish before the others. People have been trained on water management so that everyone is aware of the importance of drinking water, how to protect themselves from germs, handwashing, and more.

Plumber training that made the difference

As part of the project and sustainability of the works, on the proposal of DINEPA, there have been training sessions for plumbers who manage drinking water supply systems (SAEP) of the various networks of the South. Thirty plumbers took part in the workshop.

The plumber of Ti Plaine, responsible for the system did not hide his satisfaction. He was particularly pleased by the fact that his plumber assistants benefited from the knowledge he gathered during the workshop. “They can take over the system when I’m not there,” he said, emphasizing the unconditional support of the people for the realization of the project.

Keep the network in good condition

Several thousand trees have been planted around the catchment sources to conserve water. Seedlings were distributed as part of the project. There have been trainings to raise awareness about the importance of trees. “Many people went to plant trees,” says Smart Joseph. Indeed, the Dutch Red Cross has also trained on tree planting techniques and provided nurseries which allowed the reforestation of 2 hectares on the perimeter of protection of the source. In total, 1 530 trees, including 1050 fruit trees and 480 foresters were planted by the communities. This will increase the plant cover and protect the newly rehabilitated source.

A Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Committee (CAEPA) – made up of community members – was set up and trained on these tasks and responsibilities by DINEPA according to the national protocol in order to ensure the management of the system. of water supply. Also at the community level, people living on pipes and fountains in support of CAEPA ensure cleanliness, sensitize people and hunt animals, so that everything is always clean.

“We must be able to sustain the system because it belongs to us,” said one of the leaders.

This project is very important for UNICEF, DINEPA and USAID because it integrates the construction component of water access systems with that of sustainability through the training of stakeholders and the preservation of water resources. These two elements being the guarantee of the continuity of the service of water in the localities synonymous with the eradication of waterborne diseases.

The project aims to respond to the critical water needs of people living in drought areas and at risk of food insecurity and under-nutrition.

 

New UNICEF Representative visits partners in the Department of Centre

The Representative talking with nurses in the CTDA

Ms. Maria Luisa Fornara, the new UNICEF Representative in Haiti, paid a short visit to the Center Department. She met with several partners in the field of water, hygiene and sanitation and the fight against cholera. The main objective was to understand the different challenges and progresses in these areas. Ms. Fornara had very fruitful discussions with Dr. Jasmin Paul Menahel, a cholera control high ranking officer in the Department of centre for the Ministry of Health (MSPP).

Mirebalais, August 17, 2018- Early in the morning the UNICEF car hits the road. On board, the former and new head of the Emergency section of UNICEF, Gregory Bulit and Antonio Marro. After crossing the traffic, the road in the mountains of the department were offered to the delegation.

Ms. Fornara visited an acute diarrhea treatment center (CTDA) in Mirebalais and could talk with the nurses in charge of the Center. They expressed their determination of every day to provide the necessary care for their compatriots and to save lives.

The UNICEF Representative met with Zanmi Lasante (Partners in Health), a UNICEF partner in the field of water, hygiene and sanitation. The organization deals with the management of the CTDA and it is building, with funding from other donors, a modern CTDA with a larger capacity. The UNICEF Representative also visited the site.

“Zanmi Lasante evolves mainly in the care, per the attributions that we granted by the MSPP. It is necessary to continue by making sanitary cordon around the houses with suspected cases, however there are partners like ACTED, UNICEF and other organizations that make the community care. There is therefore a continuous coordination between us. We must maintain the bridge to give the maximum to the community, “said Dr. Kenia Vissières, program coordinator at Zanmi Lasante.

According to her, visits by senior officials, such as the UNICEF Representative, are always very important to see for themselves the challenges with a view to make their contribution.

A sensitization session in a remote area in the Centre

To see progress in the fight against cholera

Pierre Davidson, technical coordinator of the cholera project at ACTED for the whole country, explains that the visit is important because it can see for itself the evolution of the response.

“It will allow her to understand what the fight against cholera is required. There is certainly a lot of progress, but much remains to be done to eradicate the epidemic across the country. She will also be able to see the commitment of the various actors in the fight against cholera, “he said.

Better understand the rapid response strategy

Ms. Fornara also followed a rapid response team in the field. Composed of members of ACTED and the MSSP, their main task is to fight and contain cholera. These teams deploy rapidly when there are suspected cases, to establish a cordon sanitaire around the home concerned. They are responsible for raising awareness about water, hygiene and sanitation; they decontaminate the houses; they distribute a kit containing soap, tablets for the chlorination of water, salts of oral rehydration.

 

Launch of the 2018 ‘’Punch Operation against Cholera’’

The representatives of the local collectivities during the launching

                      

 In 2017, the operation punch allowed a breakthrough in the fight against cholera in the West department. On Monday, August 7, the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) and the National Directorate of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DINEPA) launched the 2018 ‘’Punch Operation’’. The main partners in the fight against the disease were there, including UNICEF and the representatives of local and regional authorities in the West.

Port-au-Prince, 22 August, 2018- With the launch of the ‘’punch operation’’, the main partners want to strengthen the fight in the department of the West. There has been significant progress in the fight, as evidenced by the numbers that have never been so low.

The administrator of the Western Health Directorate (DSO), Mr. Maliou Etienne, welcomed the participants’ presence during the workshop. “I want to remind you that the fight to eliminate, to eradicate cholera is not only the business of the MSPP but also it involves the participation of all. Everyone must contribute to the fight, “he said, officially launching the workshop.

Mr. Paul Chrystian Namphy, coordinator of cholera control at DINEPA, emphasized the important elements of the strategy to eliminate cholera: medical care, community response, epidemiological surveillance, awareness, drinking water and sanitation, involvement of local elected officials.

“These elements are essential, we must provide the population with access to water and sanitation. We must support the population in a real revolution of behavior change, promotion of awareness and hygiene, “he continued.

 

Mrs. Maria Luisa Fornara, UNICEF Haiti Representative during his speech

UNICEF a key player in the fight against cholera

In the fight against cholera, UNICEF has been with the Haitian government from the first moments. The organization supports the fight against the disease at several echelons, including the aspect of support for coordination and response at national, departmental and communal levels. Thus, the organization is the leader of the WASH sector and ensures a constant presence in the health sector to reinforce the links and the cohesion between the activities Wash and health.

“The punch operation has this strength to rally all the actors concerned by this common goal of eliminating cholera. UNICEF is delighted with the involvement of everyone, especially local and regional authorities in this major operation, “said Mrs. Maria Luisa Fornara, UNICEF Representative in Haiti.

The elimination of cholera: more than ever a truth

The latest figures against the disease show that it is possible to eliminate it. At the 30th week of this year, only 31 suspected cases were recorded for the whole country. In general, 818,874 suspected cases of cholera have been reported from 2010 to 28 July 2018; in 2017, the number of suspect cases reported amounted to 13,681 for the whole country; and from January to July of the current year there are only 2,874 cases across the country.

The combined efforts of all the partners involved in this fight bring Haiti closer and closer to the goal of elimination. It is important to be extra vigilant during the rainy season.

Even if the figures are encouraging “we cannot yet claim victory, because the cholera is still there” warned Mr. Paul Christian Namphy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rehabilitating the water network to combat drought

Jacmel’s Tepac and UNICEF staff discussing in front of a reservoir on the capture of the source Domingue

The droughts experienced by several departments of the country have put a strain about people in terms of access to drinking water. Especially in the Southeast department where communities are often far away and live in remote mountains. To facilitate access to water in these areas, UNICEF is undertaking a program of source rehabilitation and water abstraction, in cooperation with the National Directorate for Drinking Water and Sanitation (DINEPA). USAID funding has made it possible to undertake these activities in several departments of the country such as: North-West, South-East, South and Grand’Anse.

Jacmel May 31, 2018- The communes of Jacmel, Valley of Jacmel and Bainet are among the beneficiaries, because several drinking water supply systems (SAEP) and pumps with human motricities (PMH) presented an advanced state of degradation. For example, the drinking water supply system of Domingue, in the communal section of Bas Cap Rouge, 1st section of the municipality of Jacmel has benefited from the rehabilitation work. Now, more than 8,500 people have access to safe drinking water.

The TEPAC, agents of the National Directorate of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DINEPA), represent the spearhead in monitoring the management of drinking water supply systems (SAEP) in remote communities. Together with the local water committees, they put in place a mechanism, which allows the transparent and efficient management of the systems, linking the population to the water management committees.

A situation that was serious

The old tank

In Bas-Cap-Rouge, the situation was very difficult because the too low flow of the catchment source could not supply the entire network. People had difficulty getting water. “The locality has faced a serious problem of drought; the source has dried up. The population had no choice but to fetch water from the riverbed, “explains Anel Colin, TEPAC for the commune of Jacmel.

The SAEP faced serious technical problems with the water, the water supply line was cut off, there were several leaks on the distribution line. A lot of water loss was noticed. There were 12 fountains that were not working.

“Before, people used to draw water from the river. Most people who used to bathe in the river, defecated on the ground. This was a public health problem, and people who were drinking water were getting sick, not to mention cholera, “he says.

Fleurant Louissaint, secretary of the Committee for Provision of Drinking Water and Sanitation (CAEPA), explains the vital importance of the network and the changes in the lives of the inhabitants. He remembers the difficult period of drought when the river beds were dry, the trees were dying, the cattle heads were dying, it was really a disaster.

“In the past, people had to walk several miles to find the water, now it is no longer the case. Residents are happy with this improvement, it has improved the living conditions of people. Capture is a worthwhile initiative, “he says, adding that he wants state support for reforestation around the area’s water sources.

Manage the distribution of water

A young boy collecting water

DINEPA, UNICEF, Solidarités International, with funding from USAID, have undertaken work that has practically changed the lives of the population by facilitating access to water. Anel Colin, said to be satisfied at this level because it brings a big change in the community.

He deplores the cutting of the trees that were in the source of the river, which results in a decrease of the source.

To ensure the effective management and maintenance of the system, CAEPA has been formed with community members to ensure the continuity and sustainability of the water service. “The committee in concert with the people are developing a distribution schedule. My role is to collect the grievances of the population and find solutions to the problems, “he recalls.

Ensuring Sustainable Development Goals

SDG 6 states that we must “ensure access for all to water and sanitation and ensure sustainable management of water resources”.

Hamidou Maiga, UNICEF WASH Officer, emphasizes the importance of meeting this SDG. “Our mandate at UNICEF is to protect the lives of children and adolescents. Drinking water means less risk of getting sick. We stand alongside DINEPA in the implementation of public policies regarding access to water and sanitation, “he adds.

 

 

Community involvement at the heart of access to drinking water

A local resident drawing water

In remote areas of the country, access to safe drinking water can be a major challenge, considering the relief configuration and the availability of natural water sources. UNICEF, with funding from USAID, is implementing source capture and drinking water projects. Often community involvement is essential for the success of these projects. The locality of La Vallette, in the South-East department is a striking example.

Jacmel, 31st May 2018- As part of the fight against drought that hit several departments of the country including the Southeast, UNICEF in collaboration with USAID undertook work of rehabilitation of water sources in several localities. The La Valette source in the Montagne section La Voûte, 6th section of the town of Jacmel, is one of the beneficiaries.

Alma Oplan, the keen eye, the straight and decided step is the coordinator of Casec Section La Montagne. He was one of the great artisans, at the community level of the rehabilitation of the source of La Montagne. “As a development agent, our role is to work for the benefit of our communal section for the well-being of the community,” he says.

Problems that were recurrent

The rugged terrain has favored soil erosion in the area; the increase in the population has led to overexploitation of the system; natural disasters such as hurricanes (the earthquake, cyclones Emilie and Katrina and Hurricane Matthew …) have accelerated the degradation of structures. Regarding the catchment: there were cracks on the superstructure, the hatch was damaged, the nearby environment degraded. So, the rest of the network could not be powered.

The lack of ownership of the source by the community has led to a lack of monitoring of the works. People did not take care of the old catchment and threw filth, there was no cleanliness. “The situation was very difficult because people were drawing water, close to where the animals were drinking,” he says.

The community was involved

A water pump in a locality of South-East

Community members saw the need to repair the water source, so they made the request to the National Directorate of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DINEPA). USAID provided funding to UNICEF for the project. Solidarités International was chosen as the project manager.

When he talks about the realization of this project, a broad smile illuminates the face of Oplan. “People have taken ownership of the project from the beginning. They participated by giving and bringing construction materials to the site; sand, rocks, blocks, among others “, he says.

Alma Oplan was one of the driving forces behind the mobilization. He sensitized the inhabitants on the importance of the rehabilitation of the spring. He contributed to the food of the workers. He said he was satisfied with the result, although he thinks there may be some improvement.

The bulk of the work consisted of: the rehabilitation, the capture through the clogging of the leak and the cleaning of the environment close to the system; the repair of the internal and external water tightness of the tank; partial rehabilitation of masonry and plumbing; clogging and protection of pipelines at the catchment level; the construction of a retaining wall for the protection of the structure.

Per Jacques Touchard Adia, WASH specialist at UNICEF, the rehabilitation of the source will change the life of the population. Because the impact in their life is real and palpable. “It’s a big difference for the people of La Montagne, because before it was difficult to find drinking water. The population had water in quantity but which was not drinkable. The catchment and reservoir were contaminated with coliforms. UNICEF, in support of the Haitian government, has allowed these remote communities to access water. It will save the lives of children. We thank USAID for its important support to the realization of this project’’, he concludes.

Eliminating Cholera from Haiti – The last mile is the most difficult

Michel Ange supervising the a rapid response team at Carrefour

Port-au-Prince, April 2018: “It could be one of the most important activities happening in Haiti now,” states Michel Ange, team leader of one of the 58 rapid response teams working relentlessly to eliminate cholera in Haiti. “We are saving lives, educating the local population around hygiene practices, and helping to eradicate a killer bacterium.”

In 2017, for the first time since cholera was introduced to Haiti in 2010, the epidemic was under control and the highest suspected cases were concentrated in three out of the ten Departments: West (31%), Artibonite (29%) and Centre (19%). 2018 began with the lowest numbers recorded, 995 cases between January 1st and March 31st  compared to 4,248 cases for the same period last year (source: DELR/MSPP).  This evolution is largely due to a strategy that combines reinforced local coordination, surveillance, solid rapid response, and enhanced prevention through water chlorination and intensified hygiene awareness. With the support of UNICEF, the Ministry of Health launched this “alert-response” strategy in 2014, resulting in the activation of rapid response teams that are staffed with agents of the Ministry of Health response teams and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO). It required three years of close monitoring and technical support to reach a satisfactory level of performance, and now the results speak for themselves. Due to the availability of funding, all rapid response teams were activated in 2017, resulting in an unprecedented response rate of 95 percent to all suspected cases.

“We are good at what we do. You can see that in how the number of cases has dropped in the last year,” states Michel Ange. She is not showing off but simply stating a fact. Never has the chance to eliminate cholera been so close, yet the way there was hard. “It was an uphill battle but organizations like Solidarity International and UNICEF didn’t give up at all.”

UNICEF and the Ministry of Health continue to support a network of response teams nationwide. Four NGOs, are working hand in hand with the 13 teams from the Ministry of Health, called EMIRA (in French, Equipe Mobile d’Intervention Rapide), to deliver a complete package of activities: visiting affected households and an average of 12 houses living in a 50m perimeter around the patient’s house and establishing a “cordon sanitaire” to avoid the disease from spreading in the community. The teams provide oral prophylaxis to the patients and their families, disinfect homes, and distribute oral rehydration salt, soap and water chlorination tablets. They also secure water sources by establishing emergency water chlorination points or support DINEPA (National Directorate for Drinking Water and Sanitation) to chlorinate the water systems in affected areas when needed.

A rapid response team is distributing supplies to fight against cholera

These NGO teams are composed 100 percent with skilled Haitian professionals who have been trained to investigate and respond to suspected cases of cholera and other types of acute diarrhea, which directly benefit children as diarrhea remains one the main causes of child morbidity in Haiti.

Fund predictability also allowed for the improvement of complementary health and hygiene promotion activities and community mobilization, activities, crucial to ensure quick outbreak control. In addition to the work of response teams, UNICEF’s NGO partners deployed community engagement teams which reinforced the rapid response by conducting hygiene awareness interventions in schools, churches, places or events gathering people in affected areas, and food hygiene sensitization in public market places.

In the metropolitan region of Port-au-Prince, rapid response agents like Michel Ange have contributed to respond to approximately 5,000 suspected cholera cases in 2017, and to sensitize over 360,000 people in affected neighborhoods. It is a labor of passion and love. “Haiti is my home, my country, and I love it with all my heart. Of course, it is a difficult place, but with the help of organizations like Solidarités International and UNICEF, we are learning techniques to address our problems, to take over,” says Michel Ange with a smile. “My children will grow up in a stronger Haiti, a better Haiti than the one I had…we will all help each other to learn and grow together.”

Today, the situation invokes optimism but the fight is not over. To avoid a resurgence of the epidemic, an effective set-up must be maintained to ensure surveillance, prevention and response until the last case is gone; this requires steady and predictable funding.

Haiti: Institutional death due to Cholera, Epidemiological Week 7 (February 2018):

Eliminate cholera in Haiti by the rapid response teams

UNICEF Haiti works with its partners such Solidarités International to support the rapid response strategy of the Ministry of Public Health and Population in order to eliminate cholera with its rapid response teams. This is the story of Michel-Ange

Rapid response teams: a real rampart against cholera

A rapid response team in the Department of Centre

The numbers of cholera cases have significantly reduced in 2017. They have never been so low. The new Cholera strategy has paid off. At the center of attention are the rapid response teams, who are true warriors. The members will fight cholera in the targeted departments, in good weather or rainy weather. Mainly in the department of Centre (Plateau Central), where the distances to be covered are sometimes immense. UNICEF is one of the key players in the fight against cholera in the country.

Mirebalais, November 23, 2017-The all-terrain car is rolling on the rocks, the road is not good. It is necessary to zigzag between the crevasses, to avoid the mud. It rained last night, but conditions are acceptable to reach Menaj, a locality close to the town of Laschaobas (Centre).

ACTED’s rapid response team, UNICEF’s partner, with their recognizable green T-shirts from several meters, is on the warpath. They come to conduct an awareness session. But the community is quiet because today is market day. However, there are still people who will be able to listen to messages and receive hygiene kits if it’s needed.

A member of the team with a loudspeaker has already broken off to bring together the people who are present. In the empty valley, his voice is echoed. He managed to gather about twenty women and a few children. Men are in the fields.

Important to continue awareness

A sensitization session

The team begins to raise awareness about hygiene. Today, the team is there for a reinforcement of awareness. It usually takes place after the distribution of hygiene kits. These kits contain soap, oral rehydration serum, and aquatabs (chlorine tablets) and a pail with a robinet.

“You have to wash your hands in crucial moments, before eating and after getting out of the toilet. Use treated water for your health and that of your children’’. After these messages, the team asks the residents who do not live too far to bring the water they use to test the chlorine residual, to check if they have followed the instructions.

The activities of rapid response teams consist of three parts: investigation, response, awareness. “Regarding the situation for the Lower Plateau, it’s pretty quiet because we went from 38 cases per week to 14 cases and for the moment it’s only 7 cases,” says Jennyfer Joseph, cholera project manager for the Lower – Central tray.

To travel long distances

One of the biggest challenges for rapid response teams is returning to the long distances they must travel to reach remote locations. Sometimes it can take hours or even days. Because they must sleep on the way, to continue their activities and to make sure that everyone is sensitized to the principles of hygiene.

“In some mountainous places, even mules cannot pass, but we have to go if there are cases of cholera. It’s part of our mission. Sometimes we do missions of several days in these localities to reach everyone, “recalls Nadia Delmond, emergency team leader for Acted, recalling that the reception of people is always positive.