HAITI: On alert for the epidemic

Publication Date: 
November 19, 2010

Port-au-Prince, Haiti -- According to the latest official information the cholera epidemic which broke out on 20 October has so far caused over 900 deaths with  10,000 cases of infection.

The Salesians are working all out, especially for those most in need in the poorer districts, to combat the epidemic and encourage the practice of the norms of hygiene.

All those attending the Little Schools of Fr Bohnen (OPEPB), where each morning they each receive a hot roll and some milk are made to wash their hands before they take the break. At Drouillard and at Thorland in collaboration with Voluntary Service for International Development (VIS) the Salesians have distributed to the families who are still living in tents hygiene kits to treat the water.

Fr Sylvain Ducange, Superior of the Salesians in the country says that “the Salesian community in Haiti is on the alert and ready to intervene if necessary”. Brother Hubert Mesidor SDB  who  conducts an educational programme for the whole population on Radio Soleil, the radio station of the Catholic Church in Haiti, is devoting all the space possible in  his broadcasts to encourage the people in preventative measure to combat the epidemic, explaining the importance of always and everywhere practising appropriate hygienic measures.

To the already precarious living conditions due to the devastating earthquake on 12 January now there is added the fear of infection with cholera which Haiti has not experienced for almost a  century. The stigma created by this epidemic among the people is worse that the sickness itself. The people are afraid not knowing what cholera actually is and they  are tending to “isolate” all those infected. The Government has made use of the media to explain how to prevent cholera and the necessary measures  of hygiene. In the next few days the situation could get worse and the sickness spread through Port-au-Prínce on account of the huge qualities of rubbish along almost all the streets of the capital.