Double Harvest and Cholera
by Vernon Giesbrecht
Implementing Precautionary Measures
Double Harvest Clinic Waiting Area
Double Harvest is taking the Cholera outbreak in Haiti seriously. There is a possibility that this silent but preventable killer could reach our project and the surrounding community, located about 10 miles east of Port-au-Prince. Essentially a water-borne illness, the bacteria causes vomiting and diarrhea which, if not treated in time, results in extreme dehydration and eventual death. In response, our Medical Director, Clinic staff and our Project Administrator have implemented precautionary measures and education to guard against contracting the deadly bacteria. They have also stocked up on IV solutions at our Clinic in the event that cases need to be treated.
Our students and patients have been instructed about the disease and asked to pass on the information to their families. It has been recommended that each student and teacher use hand sanitizers upon entry to the school grounds. All of our employees and patients have been urged to repeatedly wash their hands with soap at work and at home. Bad bathroom habits and proper use of latrines have been highlighted. Drinkable water from our wells is available to everyone for brushing teeth, washing and cooking. Where not available, instructions on the correct use of aqua tabs, chlorine and boiling water has been disseminated. We have insisted on clean food preparation and clean-up by our cooks.
Everyone has been urged to report anyone in their family or neighborhood who is vomiting or has diarrhea, and to take them to our Clinic or to a hospital. If in contact with that person, washing with chlorinated water is strongly recommended. In a country where normal hygiene is not always practiced, we are trusting that people will be conscientious and take the precautions seriously. In the meantime, we are praying for those in Haiti whose loved ones have been infected and/or died. Also, please join us in praying that the disease will be contained.