AJWS Responds to Cholera Outbreak in Haiti

 

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AJWS Responds to Cholera Outbreak in Haiti

New York, NY; October 29, 2010—In response to the deadly outbreak of cholera in Haiti, AJWS is providing its grantee Movimiento Social-Cultural de los Trabajadores Haitianos (MOSCTHA), with emergency funding to launch an educational campaign around cholera prevention.

To help halt the spread of the disease—which has claimed the lives of at least 259 Haitians and infected over 3,000—MOSCTHA is distributing educational materials about cholera prevention and treatment along with basic information about personal hygiene.

The organization is also providing potable water, water treatment systems, hygiene products and cleaning supplies to empower Haitian communities to take control of their health.

“One of the biggest challenges Haitian communities are facing in response to the cholera outbreak is a lack of human resources,” said Amarilys Estrella, AJWS’s Associate Director of Grants who manages AJWS’s grantmaking portfolio in Haiti. “There aren’t many nurses in communities located in the remote areas of Haiti. People who are infected by cholera can’t get to a hospital quickly enough, and access to local treatment is extremely limited.”

Cantave Jean-Baptiste, AJWS’s country consultant based in Haiti, explained that the Bayonnais community, which has been heavily affected by the outbreak, cannot be accessed by car. Community leaders need to travel several hours to Port-au-Prince to obtain medicine.

Working directly with local health professionals who MOSCTHA trained shortly after the earthquake hit, the organization is beginning to train new health workers to share information with their local communities about how to identify the symptoms of cholera and seek immediate medical attention.

When the earthquake devastated Haiti on January 12, 2010, leaders from MOSCTHA, which is based in the Dominican Republic, traveled across the Haitian-Dominican border by caravan to provide immediate support to earthquake victims. With emergency funding from AJWS, MOSCTHA was one of the first responders to the earthquake, erecting two mobile clinics; mobilizing 85 health professionals and training volunteers from the Haitian-Dominican community to provide medical assistance and psychosocial support to earthquake survivors.

Since 1985, MOSCTHA has contributed to the economic, social and cultural improvement of Haitian immigrants and their descendants in bateyes (sugarcane-raising communities) and marginalized neighborhoods of the Dominican Republic. The organization has developed various community-development programs for human rights education, the legalization of Haitian immigrants and their families, preventative health and housing.