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CHF-Haiti Mobilizing to Prevent Cholera

Published 03/09/2011 by Global Communities

CHF-Haiti Mobilizing to Prevent Cholera
In response to the cholera outbreak that hit Haiti in late October 2010, CHF International has been training and mobilizing volunteers to deliver cholera prevention messages and directly reach out to people in affected communities. Funds from USAID/OFDA helped to pay for mobilization in five areas: Gonaives, Port-au-Prince, Leogane, Cap Haitien and Carrefour. All of the neighborhoods and communities that were visited by the mobilizers were selected based on the needs expressed by city and municipality officials and in coordination with other agencies working in the areas. In total the CHF cholera mobilization teams reached 137,386 beneficiaries, informing them about cholera prevention and good hygiene practices. They also distributed hygiene education materials and gave demonstrations on ORS preparation and proper handwashing.

In Gonaives, 20 mobilizers visited three sections of the city paying special attention to visits far-flung rural communities on the outskirts. They were able to reach more than 53,000 people and handed out 12,000 Ministry of Health-approved cholera flyers. Trucks with loud speakers were used to deliver messages in populated urban areas and meetings were conducted with community leaders, farmers and fishermen associations.

In Port-au-Prince, nine mobilizers made door-to-door home visits in the areas of Delmas 32, Ravine Pintade, Avenue Poupelard and Fort National. They were able to reach nearly 27,000 people and distributed nearly 12,000 informational brochures. They also conducted 22 community meetings and a seminar for all the Haytrac company staff.

In Leogane, six mobilizers reached over 15,000 people. Since there was a smaller number of mobilizers and the area was more expansive, an effort was made to organize more community meetings in churches, schools and other common spaces. The mobilizers made presentations at 106 community meetings. For two weeks a live radio broadcast on Leogane’s COOL FM was conducted by CHF’s Communication Officer who had been specially trained through UNICEF on cholera prevention issues. 

Cap Haitien
Haiti’s second-largest city, Cap Haitien suffered the highest cholera mortality rate in the entire country, spiking at 12.5% during October 2010 before leveling to 1.6% in December 2010. CHF helped mitigate against disaster by sending 11 trained mobilizers into vulnerable neighborhoods to train 35,341 people on how to avoid and treat cholera. Many of the people CHF educated were children (26,096) since the mobilizers focused much of the attention on local schools. CHF mobilizers in Cap Haitien also made 485 visits to individual families and conducted 579 community meetings to discuss cholera.

In Carrefour, CHF reached more than 6,000 people in 10 communes. The mobilizers worked with the community leaders and the Mayor of Carrefour in setting up community meetings, as well as in close collaboration with officials from Medecins Sans Frontieres who went with the mobilizers to the most affected areas. The five mobilizers were able to conduct seminars for the community leaders, held sessions in nine schools reaching out to over 2,400 students and visited five IDP camps in the area.