Project #8872

Haiti: Cholera -- We can save lives.

by International Action

The idea for the Chlorine Distibution Centre (CDC) arose back in 2012, as a way of ensuring the sustainability of the water stations International Action (IA) has helped develop in Port-au-Prince. The concept is simple: instead of relying on donations of chlorine tablets from IA, community-representatives can use funds from the water stations to buy more chlorine and store it at a central CDC. The CDC will be managed by a committee formed of one representative from each water station, from each community. In this way, water stations can function independantly of IA and be in charge of their own future. 

Anyone working in Haiti will quickly realise not everything is that simple in practise. It has taken years of discussions, planning, collaborating and eventually, training of the community representatives in business management. But we have made it. Finally we are ready to put preparation into ACTION. 

This month, Zach Brehmer, IA's Executive Director, will meet with the community representatives to finally hand over. Together they will come to an agreement, which will be signed by each member, acknowledging their responsibility and committment to the CDC scheme. IA has already agreed to donate one years supply chlorine tablets to the CDC, while enough funds are generated to buy the next shipment of chlorine. IA will also provide technical support the CDC for two years, with advice, expertise and knowledge when required. All that remains is for the Haitian communities to work together to ensure the continuing availability of clean drinking water.

This is what the Haitian people want -- to take charge of their own future and not be reliant on aid.

From the beginning it has been the Haitian people driving our efforts at IA. First, communities approached us to ask for help chlorinating their water supply, and we installed our chlorinators, a simple device which can be repaired easily by local engineers. Next, they wanted to be in charge of the chlorination and run it as a business to generate funds to pay for maintenance and future repairs. IA provided training in chlorination and how to test the level in the water, as well as finance. They were so successful at this that they found they had excess funds to put back into the community, and this has served as a model for another of IA's projects, creating rural water stations in the Artibone region (see project: Ensure sustainability of clean water in Haiti). Now they want to use some of these funds to buy their own chlorine. By working together, they can pool funds, order chlorine tablets in bulk, and store it in a common area through a process which is autonomous and self-regualted. We are confident they will step up to the challenge.


AP reporter Trenton Daniel wrote the following article:

Haiti: Cholera Outbreak In Capital

Huffington Post article written by Trenton Daniel

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- The number of cholera cases seen in the Haitian capital has jumped about threefold in recent weeks, an official with a foreign aid group said Monday.

Pascale Zintzen, deputy head of mission for Doctors Without Borders, said the group's four treatment centers in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area have handled as many as 850 cases in a single week lately. That compares with about 250 cases a week more than a month ago.

The rise is largely attributed to the second rainy season of the year, when showers and floods cause the waterborne disease to spread freely in the crowded and unsanitary capital, Zintzen said.

One cholera treatment center in the densely packed Port-au-Prince area of Martissaint has 90 beds for patients but is almost out of space, she said.

"We are not far from it," Zintzen said by telephone. "We are worried about what we see at the moment."

Despite the jump in cases, the weekly number is still far below what foreign aid groups saw in the initial peak last November after the disease surfaced a year ago.

Health care workers for Doctors Without Borders treated as many 4,600 patients in one week at its treatment centers in the Port-au-Prince area and about half that number in late May, when the year's first rainy season kicked in.

There had never been any documented cases of cholera in Haiti until a year ago, when a U.N. peacekeeping battalion from Nepal likely introduced the disease.

Cholera is caused by a bacteria that produces severe diarrhea and is contracted by eating or drinking contaminated food or water. The disease is relatively easy to treat if people can get help in time, but Haiti's poverty sometimes makes it difficult to find immediate help.

The epidemic has killed more than 6,200 people and sickened nearly 440,000 others, according to Haitian health officials.



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Organization Information

International Action

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Wesley Laine
Washington, District of Columbia United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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