Cholera, a bacterial infection primarily transmitted through contaminated water and food, spreads quickly in places where people lack access to clean water and sanitation. Such was the situation in 2010 when cholera broke out in Haiti following a century-long hiatus.
In 2010, Konbit Sante responded by partnering with Hope Health Actionand MSF (Doctors without Borders) to open the largest cholera treatment center in northern Haiti at the Haiti Baptist Convention Hospital. At the invitation of the Ministry of Health in the North, Konbit Sante played a lead role in mobilizing and coordinating interventions that improved access to clean water and promoted hygiene and sanitation in communities. In Konbit Sante’s 2022 annual report, Dr. Youseline Telemaque describes how that community-based effort worked.
The current outbreak, first reported in October 2022, has now spread throughout the country, although on a smaller scale so far than the 2010 outbreak. As in 2010, Konbit Sante initiated a two-pronged approach of supporting health partners who treat cholera patients while also addressing prevention.
In late 2022, Konbit Sante ordered 1.2 million Aquatabs water disinfection tablets from the manufacturer in Ireland and coordinated with a USAID-funded program to have the tablets transported to Haiti. Aquatabs have now been distributed to seven health facilities in the north whose community health workers are quickly getting the tablets into the communities.
One of these seven facilities is the Haiti Baptist Convention Hospital (HBCH), a 60-bed private hospital located in Quartier Morin, about six miles southeast of Cap-Haitien. The hospital serves a population of more than 30,000 people.
HCBH’s five community health workers go door to door distributing and encouraging the use of these water purification tablets. According to nurse Elizabeth Jean, HCBH Community Health, the mobilization of health workers allows HCBH to build solid links with community leaders and to encourage and effect behavioral change.
Our thanks to all the community health workers who do this important work on the ground. And to the donors who make Konbit Sante’s work possible.