Category Archives: Latin America & Caribbean

In Haiti, a Building Fights Cholera

In Haiti, a Building Fights Cholera. New York Times, September 12, 2017.

Next month marks the seventh anniversary of the cholera outbreak that ravaged Haiti. The disease, which can cause death within hours if left untreated, came less than a year after Haiti was rocked by an enormous earthquake that left hundreds of thousands dead and millions injured, displaced and destitute.

Haiti is prone to earthquakes and tropical storms — the island was spared the worst of Hurricane Irma last week — but the cholera outbreak was an anomaly; the disease had never before struck Haiti. It was brought in, it is widely believed, by United Nations peacekeepers from Nepal.

A child with cholera symptoms being examined in the Cholera Treatment Center in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Credit Dieu Nalio Chery/Associated Press

A child with cholera symptoms being examined in the Cholera Treatment Center in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Credit Dieu Nalio Chery/Associated Press

One of the world’s most infectious waterborne diseases, cholera spreads quickly and has proved extremely difficult to contain in Haiti. Over 10,000 have died and nearly a million have been stricken to date.

But one organization has managed to nearly eradicate it in a large slum in Port-au-Prince that lacks clean water and sanitation.

One of the game changers that would surprise most people, including global health experts, was actually a building.

It wasn’t just any building, but a very intelligently and beautifully designed one: the Cholera Treatment Center, operated by Les Centres Gheskio, an acronym that stands for the Haitian Group for the Study of Kaposi’s Sarcoma and Opportunistic Infections.

Read the complete article.

You Probably Don’t Want To Know About Haiti’s Sewage Problems

You Probably Don’t Want To Know About Haiti’s Sewage Problems. NPR: Goats and Soda, July 2017.

People dump trash and raw sewage into canals that run through Port-au-Prince, Haiti. When it rains, the canals overflow and flood poor neighborhoods. John W. Poole/NPR

People dump trash and raw sewage into canals that run through Port-au-Prince, Haiti. When it rains, the canals overflow and flood poor neighborhoods. John W. Poole/NPR

The rain began on Good Friday. It fell into the roofless ruins of Port-au-Prince’s Catholic cathedral. It swirled through stalls in the market downtown. In the hills above Haiti’s capital, the rain ran off the clay roof tiles of upscale homes.

No matter where the rain fell, it was all destined for the same place: the system of concrete canals that cut through the city and down to the sea.

At the edge of the city next to the shore, the rain pounded on the zinc roof of Jean Claude Derlia’s single-story cinder block home. His neighborhood, Project Drouillard, is dense with families packed into homes like his. Most people who grew up in Project Drouillard have stayed, as he has. The community is close-knit, poor and socially isolated from downtown Port-au-Prince.

It is also extremely vulnerable to flooding from the canal full of trash and raw sewage that bordered it on one side. After a rainstorm a few years ago, Derlia had been swept away by a wave of sludge and nearly died before neighbors fished him out. He was sick for weeks after it happened, but he survived.

Read the complete article.

Water and Sanitation Services: Rural or Urban Haiti First?

Water and Sanitation Services: Rural or Urban Haiti First? Huffington Post, June 16, 2017.

Low coverage rates for clean water and sanitation leave Haiti exposed to significant health burdens. According to the latest estimates, 72% of Haiti’s population lack access to improved sanitation facilities and use either shared facilities, other improved facilities, or defecate in the open. 

Faucets

Source: pexels.com

 

In urban areas, 66% of the population lacks access to improved facilities while in rural areas, 81% of the total population lacks access to improved facilities.

Between 2,000 and 4,500 people die each year from diarrheal disease. And the lack of basic water and sanitation services has contributed to the spread of waterborne diseases, including the cholera outbreak introduced by U.N. peacekeeping troops in 2010.

Better water and sanitation services would make it harder for such diseases to spread. But here, as in every other policy area, Haiti faces options.

Examining competing policy options is the purpose of the Haiti Priorise research project. More than 50 economists have written new research papers studying the costs and benefits of different proposals to improve the nation’s environmental, economic, and social conditions.

Read the complete article.

A Photographer’s Journey Into Haiti’s Cholera Crisis – National Geographic

A Photographer’s Journey Into Haiti’s Cholera Crisis. National Geographic, December 13, 2016.

After Hurricane Matthew hit, a silent killer struck the fragile country—again

The same rains that were spreading cholera across southern Haiti were blocking Andrea Bruce from getting to the story.

cholera-haiti-bruce-adapt-1190-1

The Elise Adventure Morija Church was completely swept away during Hurricane Matthew. Residents still hold services under a tent on the church’s foundation.

The National Geographic photographer had arrived a few weeks after Hurricane Matthew struck the island in October to document a new surge of cholera cases spreading across some of the country’s most remote areas.

When Bruce reached the mountainous epicenter of the cholera crisis, a town called Rendel, she found crumbled homes, some with just a door frame or a single piece of furniture left standing. Residents were scrapping together small shacks from the rubble.

Read the complete article.

Domestic Livestock and Public Health / Animales Domésticos Y Salud Pública

Small-scale livestock production plays an essential role as a source of income and nutrition for households in low-and middle-income countries, yet these practices can also increase risk of zoonotic infectious diseases, especially among young children.

The study upon which the video is based is: Detection of zoonotic enteropathogens in children and domestic animals in a semi-rural community in Ecuador. Appl & Env Microbiol, May 2016. Authors: Karla Vasco, Jay P. Graham and Gabriel Trueba.

Webinar: Technology Applicability Framework (TAF) in Water and Sanitation

The RWSN secretariat announces the latest webinar of their mini-series 2016, which will take place on1 6.11.2016. The title of the event is “A tool for Monitoring the Scaling up of Water and Sanitation Technologies (TAF – Technology Applicability Framework)” and it will focus on the use of the TAF, which has been presented and discussed previously at the SuSanA Forum (here). The session will take place in English (2-3 PM Central European Time, please check your local time here) and in Spanish (4-5 PM Central European Time, please check your local time here). Thee two presenters and the titles of their presentations are:

  • Joshua Briemberg, WaterAid, Nicaragua: TAF as a participative planning and monitoring tool
  • Younes Hassib, GIZ, Germany: Scaling up sanitation solutions in Afghanistan

After the two presentations, you will have the chance to ask questions and participate in the on-line Q&A session and discussion around this topic.

Please use this link in order to register for the sessions.

Recordings and presentations of previous sessions of this mini-series of webinars are available for download and viewing here.

For more information on the Technology Applicability Framework (TAF), please visit: washtechnologies.net/en

Watch the video

Women waste pickers: living conditions, work, and health

Women waste pickers: living conditions, work, and healthRev. Gaúcha Enferm. vol.37 no.3 Porto Alegre Sept 2016.

Objective – To know the elements of work, health, and living conditions of women who pick recyclable waste and are members of a waste cooperative in a town of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.

Method – This is a qualitative, exploratory and descriptive study with seven subjects. Data were collected through participative observation, semi structured interview, and a focus group from July to August of 2013. The data were subjected to content analysis.

Results – The following thematic categories emerged: Women’s work, informality and precariousness; Experiences of job satisfaction; and Working conditions and health: experiences with accidents, illness and health services.

Conclusion – It was concluded that the women who collect recyclable material are exposed to precarious work conditions and potential health risks, such as work overload, accidents, illness, and social insecurity, and that nurses are responsible for promoting actions that ensure the health and inclusion of these workers.