Once the team was assembled, a large-scale social mobilization was launched. Activities included distributing buckets, water-purification tablets and rehydration salts, as well as visits to schools and communities to share messages about the importance of healthy hygiene and proper sanitation.
Each household in Port-Margot received two buckets: one with a lid and one without. One bucket is to carry water from the source to their homes and the other is to use for drinking water. The buckets enable people to conserve and purify water to make sure it’s safe to drink. Someone at each home received instruction on ways to purify water after the tablets ran out. Community health workers also educated them on how to treat cholera symptoms with home remedies.
Overall, the program distributed 600 buckets, 30,000 water purification tablets, 1,500 packets of rehydration salts to 7,900 residents.
Dr. Paul-Emile Dalexis manages the program for IMA and said the buckets are a vital tool. “Without the buckets, people don’t have supplies for water conservation,” he said.
Dr. Victor Cadet, head of the Haitian Ministry of Public Health and Population North Cholera Program, said the partnership with IMA has been key in reaching people with life-saving tools and information. “We are able to train the community health workers and to keep them active, enabling us to reach more people and defend against cholera outbreaks,” he said.
The message the community health workers share is vital to students and their families, Principal Helvè Carmelle said. “It’s really important to keep students healthy,” she said. Her school, Eglise La Foi Apostolique, received buckets and purification tablets as part of the program.
The children who attend Eglise La Foi Apostolique live along the stream in the commune of Port-Margot. When one of the schoolgirls arrived home from school, the community health workers were educating her grandfather, Noriston Vereas, on how to make sure her drinking water is safe.
Thanks to the partnership between the Ministry and IMA, and support from IMA’s generous donors, their family can protect themselves from cholera and have the knowledge to continue living a healthy life.