Back in January, ICC provided supporters with an update on the cholera epidemic in Haiti which began in 2010.
Cholera is an infection that is primarily transmitted through a water source. Symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea which can lead to severe dehydration. If not treated, this disease can lead to death.
Since the outbreak, the Associated Press (AP) reports that more than 8,500 people have died and 700,000 have become ill. According to AP, "studies have shown cholera-infected waste likely was inadvertently introduced in one of Haiti's biggest rivers by troops from Nepal, where the disease is endemic." The river is a life source for the towns and villages that it runs through, as it is used for drinking, bathing and washing clothes.
Within the last few weeks, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Haiti Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe have launched a "Total Sanitation" initiative to improve sanitation and hygiene in rural areas. Haiti has the poorest quality sanitation access in the Western Hemisphere as the majority of Haiti's 10 million residents do not have access to bathrooms. The area is therefore a rampant breeding ground for cholera.
ICC works towards the elimination of waterborne disease by conducting hygiene education, where ICC health professionals teach individuals the importance of hand hygiene and safe food practices. This program also offers instruction on how to prepare oral rehydration solution to those caring for current cholera patients. While Grace Children’s Hospital isn’t a specified cholera treatment center, it is prepared to treat patients that come to the hospital with this illness.
The cholera epidemic continues to take the lives of thousands of Haitians living in unsanitary and impoverished areas. Please consider a gift to support hygiene education and the work of International Child Care.