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Haiti - Epidemic : ACF, a race against clock
01/11/2010 15:14:23

Haiti - Epidemic : ACF, a race against clock
A week after the beginning of the cholera epidemic, Action against Hunger (Action contre la Faim ACF) strengthens its actions to prevent the spread of the disease in a population greatly weakened by the earthquake of January. It's a race against the clock, which was launched to counter this disease that can kill within hours.

Very involved in the field of water, sanitation and hygiene in the metropolitan area of Port-au-Prince and the Artibonite, the ACF teams have immediately responded to the epidemic through actions to contain the spread of the epidemic. ACF is not directly involved in the treatment of patients but further attempts to act on the causes of the disease and its spread in order to participate in stemming the epidemic.

ACF interventions to contain the disease are centered around three main areas: the distribution of kits to fight against cholera based on soap, chlorine tablets and oral rehydration salts; awareness on how to address this disease, and the systematic disinfection and cleaning with chlorine potential drivers of the epidemic (water points, latrines, etc.).. Thus, for these three areas and to date, here is the evaluation of activities conducted by ACF :

Distributions of kits to fight against cholera:
Distributions of 9.543 kits to fight against cholera to more than 35,000 people in the community sections of Marchand Dessalines (Villars, Boudette) and Saint Michel de l'Attalaye (Platana, St. Michael), and young mothers participating in a program FCA Gonaives. Distributions of hygiene kits (chlorine, buckets, sprayers, equipment for foot baths and hand washing) in health facilities in Gonaives, Gros Morne, Marchand Dessalines and Ennery

Cleaning, disinfection and chlorination:
To Port-au-Prince ACF led already and in a systematic way, actions of cleaning of the camps, disinfection of water points and latrines and water chlorination to ensure its potability. Given the risk of spread to Port-au-Prince, this plan has been further strengthened with particular spraying chlorine from tap stands twice daily and latrines three times a day on the 68 water points and 900 latrines established by the organization. Moreover, the chlorine content in water distributed by ACF was further increased: 300,000 people now benefit from more than 3 million gallons of treated water each day. Systematic tests are held every day at every filling of water points to check the chlorine content in water distributed by ACF.

Finally, in Gonaives and Gressier ACF supports the establishment of local workshops for the production of chlorine to move towards greater sustainability and empowerment. 3 workshops are in operation in Gonaives and other 3 Gressier.

Awareness of good practices to prevent and fight against cholera
Teams of hygiene promoters existing in Port-au-Prince and Gressier were increased, more than 1,100 people have been sensitized this week in Port-au-Prince and received a block of soap ; Nearly 10,000 people have been sensitized in Artibonite during distributions of kits ; and the medical staff of health facilities in which ACF has provided a health kit has been sensitized. Finally, awareness posters and explanation of actions have been finalized in conjunction with WHO and the Ministry of Public Health and Population and will be widely disseminated and distributed to the population.

Preventing and limiting the spread of the epidemic are now the major challenge facing this crisis. These distribution activities, disinfection and sensitization will therefore continue in the coming days and weeks. They should also be strengthened by the actual implementation of a sanitation and sustainable waste management in various departments of the state of Artibonite and West as well as improving access to drinking water for people in these areas, only lasting solutions to prevent further outbreaks.

HL/ HaitiLibre

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