A team of about 25 Oxfam staff is working around the clock in our assigned work zone (Petite Riviere) to distribute water purification tablets and powder, soap, buckets and oral rehydration salts. Oxfam is also repairing and building wells and then purifying those natural water sources.
Oxfam is carrying out a massive hygiene education campaign, through radio messages, training community members to spread information about good hygiene, and large-scale public education sessions in villages and towns.
“With heavy rains the outbreak was expected to reach Port-au-Prince. People in camps are worried that the disease could spread. But we have been preparing for that possibility ever since it began. In the capital, we’re strengthening our programs in camps of earthquake survivors where we have been working since January. This covers more than 300,000 people. This is priority number one for our staff and we’re working around the clock to contain the outbreak and reassure our beneficiaries.
“For more than ten months, even with one million people living under tents and tarps, we had not a single major outbreak of waterborne disease in Port-au-Prince. We know how to deal with this so now it’s a matter of reaching the most people with public hygiene messages and continue to coordinate with the government and the humanitarian community.”
Providing people with clean water, sanitation, and hygiene education is the only way to prevent the spread of diseases like cholera.
“The only way to stop the spread of cholera is when each and every person is practicing good hygiene,” said Oxfam spokesperson Julie Schindall. “That’s as simple as handwashing and drinking clean water.”