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.
“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.
This post is also available in: French