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Clean Hands Save Lives: Prevention is Key in the Fight Against Cholera

  • October 15, 2012

Because cholera prevention is a central focus for AmeriCares ongoing work in Haiti, Global Hand Washing Day is significant for one clear reason: good hygiene plus good sanitation saves lives. Hand washing is one of the key methods for preventing cholera and many other illnesses.  Reinforcing good hand washing practices is especially significant in October, the month that the very first cholera case was confirmed in Haiti in 2010.  Since then, there have been 596,389 reported cases of cholera to date and 7,533 reported deaths from this preventable diarrheal disease. AmeriCares has delivered more than 230,000 cholera treatments to Haiti, supplying 189 cholera treatment facilities. AmeriCares has also delivered medicines, oral rehydration salts, hand sanitizer, soap, water purification tablets, disinfectant and other hygiene products to help prevent the spread of the disease, while supporting cholera prevention training for 100,000 people.In conjunction with Global Hand Washing Day, AmeriCares Haiti supported four partner organizations conducting community activities that promote hand washing and good health in the neighborhoods of Delmas, Petion-Ville, Carrefour and Cazeau. Three partners implement their activities in urban slum communities where hygiene is particularly poor due to limited access to education, health education, water and hygiene materials. One of these areas includes Carrefour—a severely earthquake-damaged neighborhood that experiences flooding after most rainstorms.The overall goal of these activities is to educate area residents on how to prevent diarrheal disease and to reinforce good hygiene practices.  Materials provided by AmeriCares at the three partner sites will be integrated into other ongoing community health and cholera prevention activities.AmeriCares Haiti staff will also directly promote hand washing through a dedicated radio show to inform and remind the public of the importance of hand washing and hygiene.  An accompanying demonstration site will be available to the public in the areas outside of the radio station.The activities, which include distribution of hand washing stations, soap, and liquid bleach for disinfecting will feature:

  • Hand washing demonstrations for students at schools, at public markets, in camps for people displaced by the earthquake and in other community centers.
  • Training on why hand washing is important to mitigate the cholera and other diarrheal diseases
  • Door to door visits to inform residents of how they should wash their hands and why.

Learn more about AmeriCares work in cholera prevention and treatment in Haiti here. Learn more about AmeriCares Global Cholera Preparedness Initiative here.Read MoreDonate Now