Posts

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.

Celebration of the Convention on the Rights of the Child: Put the respect of children’s rights as a priority

 

The main partners in child Protection were present

Port-au-Prince, November 20, 2017- On the anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, celebrated this Monday around the world, UNICEF reiterates its wish to see every child in a family. Thus, UNICEF supports the Institute of Social Welfare and Research (IBESR) for the realization of the week of childhood. The national theme is “YON FANMI POU CHAK TIMOUN” (A family for every child).

As is the case each year, UNICEF’s goal this week is to focus on the right of every child to physical, mental and emotional well-being. The organization calls for putting the respect of children’s rights at the center of public attention.

With a focus on the vital role families play in child development, UNICEF has been working together with IBESR and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor (MAST) on Monday, 20 November, as well as others. partners, to certify 76 host families. The first Lady, Mrs. Martine Moïse, attended the ceremony.

“UNICEF supports all efforts to reduce the number of children placed in institutions. The place of a child is in the family, biological or host. This allows the kid to develop his full potential. “Says Marc Vincent, UNICEF Representative in Haiti. “UNICEF supports the Haitian government for the well-being of all children in Haiti.”

In the same vein, on 21 November, was held the certification ceremony of ‘Friendly Schools of Hygiene’ in partnership with the Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training, the Ministry of Public Health and Population as well as other partners. Good hygiene conditions within the school are an important contribution to children’s learning. Of the 17 schools certified in the departments of the Center and Artibonite, 13 are supported by UNICEF.

Yes, to Participation

Beyond the actions dedicated to protection, survival and education, UNICEF will undertake a series of activities during the week of November 20th to promote the voice of children and adolescents. Participation being the fourth pillar of the CRC the goal is to communicate with, for and through children. Children’s voices will be shared through social media, WhatsApp and the UNICEF Blog.

No to violence

Throughout the week of November 20, short opinion videos on everyday violence, “voxpops,” will be shared on WhatsApp and social media as UNICEF works for “One Family Without Violence for Every Child.” In the same logic is planned a workshop on violence and resilience which will be followed by a graduation to the first group of stakeholders trained in emotional intelligence and personal leadership.

A series of musical pieces for children, composed and performed by the renowned Haitian artist Jean-Jean Roosevelt, will be launched online as well as the music video ‘Pou chak timoun’ (For each child). Come follow us live on http://timounyo.com/

CRC an important text for the rights of the child

In 54 articles and two Optional Protocols, the Convention sets out the fundamental rights of all children in the world: the right to survival; the right to develop as far as possible; the right to be protected from harmful influences, abuse and exploitation; and to participate fully in family, cultural and social life.

The four basic principles of the Convention are non-discrimination; the priority given to the best interests of the child; the right to live, to survive and to develop; and respect for the views of the child. All rights recognized in the Convention are inherent in the human dignity and harmonious development of every child. The Convention protects the rights of children by setting standards for health care, education and legal, civil and social services.

###

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.

Multimedia assets available for download here: https://weshare.unicef.org/Package/2AM40805FSQX

Follow us: www.timounyo.com  , Facebook : UNICEF Haiti, Twitter : UNICEFHaiti

For more information:

Cornelia Walther, communication chief, cwalther@unicef.org

 

Life-saving peanut paste for children, made in Haiti

Haiti's first and only plumy'nut factory in Cap haitian

Haiti’s first and only plumy’nut factory in Cap Haitian. (c)UNICEF Haiti/2015/Walther

After two days in Cap Haitian (and 12 hours on the road) I am back in Port-au-Prince. During the visit I got the chance to meet Patricia Wolff, Director of Meds & Foods for Kids (MFK), a Haiti-based company that produces therapeutic foods to cure malnutrition in children, including Plumpy’nut. Plumpy’nut is a peanut based high calorie paste for therapeutic feeding, which was a revolution when it entered the humanitarian practice over a decade ago, due to its quick impact on the nutritional status of children and its long shelf-life. A large part of the Plumpy’nut supply that UNICEF Haiti uses to support nutrition centres across the country is produced by Patricia’s team, which is in many ways a pioneer of social business in Haiti.

While the company continues to struggle to ensure sustainable profit, they appreciate the headway made, placing the value of social enterprising at the centre. “We declare victory early, once we break even in terms of income/expenses. Profit is what is to the social benefit of all.” Starting a business in Haiti is a challenge. Costs related to electricity, water, roads and security are significantly higher than elsewhere, which increases the costs of locally produced products. “When UNICEF buys from us it is for philosophical reasons. They believe in the principle of local purchases and the need to strengthen local capacities. Seen from a purely commercial aspect they could get it cheaper from Nutriset in France.” explains Patricia.

A proud mom and her daughter, who can smile again after the successful treatment.

A proud mom and her daughter, who can smile again after the successful treatment. (c)UNICEF Haiti/2015/Walther

She came to Haiti 26 years ago as a volunteer, and never left. “Many people here got sick, because they were malnourished. I saw children and women die needlessly.” Together with the inventors of the original Plumpy’nut recipe she started to work for the establishment of a therapeutic food factory in Haiti. In 2003 MFK set-up shop close to Cap Haitian, in the North of Haiti. At the beginning they produced Plumpy’nut for ten children a month, saving 100 children per year.” In 2010 the company became a partner of Nutriset, the French based company which owns the patent of Plumpy’nut. Today about 1/3 of the 450 metric tons that MFK produces every years is distributed in Haiti.

To ensure access for the most vulnerable children Patricia’s products are bought by humanitarian and development actors such as UNICEF which then supply community health centres in cooperation with the Haitian Government. Yet available funds are insufficient to cover the needs.

A boy's upper arm is measured by a nurse. It is a measure that gives quick and reliable information about a child's nutritional status.

A boy’s upper arm is measured by a nurse. It is a measure that gives quick and reliable information about a child’s nutritional status. (c)UNICEF Haiti/2015/Walther

As I write these lines, among children under 5 years living in Haiti, 11 % are underweight (moderate and severe), 22% suffer from chronic malnutrition (moderate and severe) and 5% from acute malnutrition (moderate and severe). This may be due to the poverty of their family, to disease or unfavorable feeding practices. If a child does not get sufficient nutrients during the first 1000 days of life (1), his brain and body will never fully develop, which will have consequences on school performance and later on income. There is no second chance to catch up! Plumpy’nut is part of the solution, if it goes hand in hand with overall development that enhances food security for families.

To conclude in Patricia’s words “We are part of those who have won the lottery. It’s only fair if we give a lifting hand to those who haven’t.” So true. This philosophy of reaching those who are the most vulnerable is at the heart of UNICEF’s mission in Haiti, and everywhere across the world.

A mother and her son share a moment of joy. Before the treatment at a UNICEF-supported nutrition center the little boy was too weak to even open his eyes.

A mother and her son share a moment of joy. Before the treatment at a UNICEF-supported nutrition center the little boy was too weak to even open his eyes. (c)UNICEF Haiti/2015/Walther

 

(1)              For more information on the first 1000 days, please check https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NymebwpbL4c.

 

CORRECTION

An error was found in this article, we have made ​​the necessary corrections on the 18/05/2015. Please find below the adjusted numbers for the prevalence of malnutrition for children under 5 years:

  1. Prevalence of underweight (moderate and severe) 11%
  2. Prevalence of Chronic malnutrition (moderate and severe) 22%
  3. Prevalence of acute malnutrition (moderate and severe) by 5%

* Percentage of children of less than five years considered as malnourished according to three anthropometric indices measuring the nutritional status: (1) weight depending on age ; (2) the size according to age ; and (3 ) the weight depending on the size .

Source: EMMUS 2012 Survey Mortality, Morbidity, and use of services

 

By Cornelia Walther, Chief of Communication at UNICEF Haiti