Haiti Hurricane Relief Appeal

by Hope Health Action
Haiti Hurricane Relief Appeal
Haiti Hurricane Relief Appeal
Haiti Hurricane Relief Appeal
Haiti Hurricane Relief Appeal
Haiti Hurricane Relief Appeal
Haiti Hurricane Relief Appeal
Haiti Hurricane Relief Appeal
Haiti Hurricane Relief Appeal
Haiti Hurricane Relief Appeal
Haiti Hurricane Relief Appeal
Haiti Hurricane Relief Appeal
Haiti Hurricane Relief Appeal
Haiti Hurricane Relief Appeal
Haiti Hurricane Relief Appeal
Boy drinking from hand pump
Boy drinking from hand pump

Last month saw the end of the Cholera Prevention Programme which you've been helping to fund. It was an intensive 6 month project put in place following the devastation of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti last Autumn. With the risk of a large scale outbreak of cholera a real concern we felt we could best use our experience and resources to try and tackle this threat.

We worked with partners based in the southwest peninsula, St Boniface Haiti Foundation, to staff and equip a permanent treatment centre in the worst hit area. We also funded a team of community health workers who have been working on various fronts to protect people from the disease and prevent a large outbreak. 

The headline of this project is a positive one. Thankfully we have not seen the outbreak that we feared. In fact we have only had to treat under 50 serious cases. This is incredibly good news for the people of Haiti and we put a significant part of that success down to the amount of prevention work that has been done in the last 6 months. It is also proof that continual education within the community about effective hygiene is a vital tool in preventing deadly outbreaks. This is something we promote every day in the commmunities around our hospital as do St Boniface in the south.

Some of the figures from the project are: 25,000 people we're vaccinated against cholera, 5000 living in high risk areas received water purification tablets and hundreds who showed signs of cholera infection we're identified and treated in the community.

The latter stages of the project focussed on identifying key community water sources which had become contaminated by cholera. From the tests that were done around half were unfit to drink from. So to rectify this, the team has been installing filtration systems at key sites, including a school responsible for a vital feeding programme.

Follow up tests showed the filtration is 100% successful meaning communities regained access to safe drinking water for the first time in months.

The legacy of this programme will continue beyond the 6 months alone. There are cholera treatment centres stocked and ready should another outbreak occur. Health education levels are higher than ever before, and permanent water filtration systems have been installed across the region. Haiti is now better prepared to tackle cholera in the future. Thank you for supporting this important programme.

We can't however think that our work in Haiti is done following Hurricane Matthew. The truth is nowhere near enough aid was given to the victims. Communities still lie in ruins, families are homeless and schools and infrastructure remain unusable. So please look for other projects which are helping those still affected and support them if you can.

Filtration system
Filtration system

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It has now been 5 months since Hurricane Matthew struck the western parts of Haiti, devastating communities and crops, and leaving over 1 million displaced. With large areas of standing water, and the high risk of contamination of community water sources, a dangerous surge in cholera cases was expected. As primary healthcare providers in Haiti, we were in a position to respond to this crisis and play our part in minimising the long term effects of the hurricane.

Thanks to your support, and that of other friends and partners, we were able to raise the funds to implement a large scale cholera response programme focussing on reducing risk and providing quick and effective treatment for those affected. Through our partners at St Boniface Hospital, located in the worst hit area of Haiti, our programme has been in full swing for 4 months and has been even more successful than we'd expected.

One of the first priorities was to implement a wide scale vaccination programme, protecting whole communities from cholera. Over 25,000 people were vaccinated in November. We also equipped and staffed a 24/7 cholera treatment centre at St Boniface Hospital to treat the worst cases. This centre took cases for the first few months but thankfully at a lower rate than we'd feared. And we are delighted to report that there have been no new serious cases in the last month.

The reducing number of serious cholera cases is proof that the community prevention work is successful so far and evidence suggests that cholera in the region has been largely contained.

The work in the community that has contributed to this success is ongoing and includes the regular distribution of water purification tablets, which remove pathogens from water making it safe to drink. These continue to be distributed by a 70 strong team of community health agents at rally posts, weekly health meetings and through home visits. 

In addition to the above, thorough water source testing has been carried out at multiple key locations to identify areas most at risk where water filtration systems need to be installed. 4 locations have been identified for these systems, 2 of which are schools. These installations will happen in the final two months of the project - March and April. 

Despite the clear success of the cholera prevention work, recent reports from the UN suggest that the international community has failed to provide enough funds to effectively respond to all Haiti's needs following the hurricane. So although organisations like HHA have been having a big impact in certain areas, much is still needed especially to help repair key buildings like schools and health centres, but also restore food supplies. HHA are now looking at other ways we can support the rebuilding process and meet the current needs within Haiti following the hurricane.

Thank you so much for your support.

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On October 4, Hurricane Matthew, a Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 145 miles per hour, directly hit southern Haiti, causing widespread damage, flooding, and displacement. As noted in the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ (OCHA) situation report, the hurricane caused the largest humanitarian crisis in Haiti since the 2010 earthquake, and hit a region already contending with increasing number of cholera cases, severe food insecurity and malnutrition. Affecting more than two million people throughout the country. 1.4 million people are in need of immediate humanitarian assistance, including access to a sufficient supply of quality water and cholera prevention services and treatment.

As a result of Hurricane Matthew, the number of suspected cholera cases has spiked in the South. With further increases expected, HHA acted swiftly to partner with St Boniface Haiti Foundation (SBHF) in setting up a new cholera treatment and prevention programme in the worst affected area. Thanks to your support this programme is underway and has already helped thousands of people with access to clean water and cholera vaccines, in addition to treatment for those who had already caught the disease. Here are some updates on the programme so far:

Cholera Treatment at St. Boniface Hospital

A treatment tent was constructed in accordance with national regulations, and is properly isolated from the rest of the hospital and population. The tent is fenced off, and all entering must undergo handwashing and foot spraying with a bleach solution. All waste is properly disposed of in a separate area, away from the main hospital. The cholera treatment tent is a permanent structure and is fully stocked in preparation for additional cholera patients.

Cholera Vaccination Campaign

HHA has directly supported the vaccination of 23,721 people over eight days. Each person received one dose, which is effective for three months. Many communities in the catchment area have proven vulnerable to cholera in the past, so the cholera vaccination campaign is a critical part of our prevention approach. In conjunction with continued education, it should help reduce the future spread of cholera.

During the cholera campaign, water purification tablets (“aquatabs”) and nearly 1000 hygiene kits were also distributed. Access to safe water sources in the region varies greatly, and aquatabs ensure that drinking water is free of pathogens. Community health workers also distributed aquatabs during rally posts –weekly health gatherings in the communities where information is shared— and during home visits. In the first 6 weeks, nearly 25,000 people benefited from these activities.

Community Prevention

HHA are supporting mobile clinics in some of the hardest hit regions of Sothern Haiti. To reach some communities, staff must drive over six hours and hike between 30 to 60 minutes. While these mobile clinics provide a wide range of medical care, they also have the capacity to treat acute watery diarrhea with ORS plus zinc and IV treatment. Staff have already referred several cholera cases to local treatment centers and are distributing aquatabs in the clinics. 1,777 people have been seen by the clinics so far, and staff estimate that 8,000 people will be seen over two months. Supplies from HHA are being used for cholera prevention by the mobile clinics.

With such a strong community prevention response, we have thankfully seen only minimal numbers of severe cholera cases. With more prevention and education happening over the next few months we are hopeful that cases will remain low. With water testing kits arriving soon, work will be starting to assess the condition of water sources in several communities in the south west of Haiti. Further action will be taken if contamination is found. 

We will provide further updates as the project progresses. Thank you so much for your support of this work. 

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Organization Information

Hope Health Action

Location: West Wickham, Kent - United Kingdom
Website:
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Twitter: @Hopehealthact
Project Leader:
Carwyn Hill
West Wickham, Kent United Kingdom

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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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