Cholera outbreak reminds the importance of community health program
By Jennifer Browning
In NPR’s Health Experts Keep Close Eye on Cholera in Haiti, Christopher Joyce discusses Haiti’s health worker’s focus on prevention and education and how it is vital to keep cholera at bay. Epidemiologists working with the International Organization for Migration have begun to do this by tracking those from the Artibonite region where the outbreak started. Officials are using cell phone records to track people who are leaving the area for fear that these people may possibly be infected. Epidemiologists are sending these people text messages providing a free number to call. Those who do call learn not only how to avoid spreading the disease, but also what to do if they get infected.
Project Medishare has joined forces with the Haitian Ministry of Health as well as other partnering organizations such as Partners in Health’s Zanmi Lasante, American Red Cross, and other NGOs to get the message out about cholera, including how to prevent it and how it is treated.
In Joyce’s article, Sabrina Pourmand-Nolan, local director for World Vision, advocates that in order for Haiti to prevent cholera from becoming a permanent plague, it will take more than proper sewage to keep the Caribbean country out of the woods.
“It’s not just about getting proper sewage,” Pourmand-Nolan told NPR, “it’s about getting proper educational facilities, proper health facilities. That’s how we are going to protect the people over the long term.”
Project Medishare began working in rural Haiti in 1994 with a focus on empowering the people to support a community health program. Today, based in Thomonde, in Haiti’s Central Plateau, the organization continues its mission to improve access to healthcare in Haiti.
When the word got out that cholera was raging across the nearby Artibonite area, Project Medishare mobilized 82 community health agents who immediately began getting the message out to their communities. They were joined by 20 other community health doctors and nurses and office staff.
And while, the organization’s doctors, nurses, pharmacists and health agents are out in the community each day, it is times like these that provide a reminder regarding the importance of this community health program in Haiti’s Central Plateau. Without programs like this one, it would be almost impossible to spread the word about prevention to keep people safe.
Project Medishare’s community health and development program exists on private donations. If you would like to make a donation to keep these programs in action click here to make a secure online donation today.