Cholera Vaccinations Underway in Haiti

In April, Partners in Health launched their Cholera Vaccine campaign in Haiti.  The goal was to vaccinate 50,000 Haitians living in vulnerable areas.  In Phase 1, preparation of registration cards in Boston began, to be delivered to Haiti and used as a tracking system to ensure patients receive two vaccines.

 

In Phase 2, Cholera immunizations are underway as  Haitian staff begin outreach to local communities to distribute registration cards.

 

Get involved in this project with Partners in Health. Please pledge to support a cholera vaccine for Haitians.

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World Water Day leads me to WASH program in Haiti

After attending the World Water Day Summit March 22nd at Purdue Calumet, I walked away feeling somewhat disappointed. This year’s World Water Day Theme was Water and Food Security so I was anticipating learning more about the topic, what leaders were doing to address food and water scarcity issues, and how I could become involved. Unfortunately, this was not the theme of their summit. Most of the focus was on the work being done locally in Northwestern Indiana.

As speakers touted the strides they were making to keep beaches along Lake Michigan clean and free of e-coli contamination, the success of dredging projects in the Grand Calumet River and the Roxanna Marsh as part of the Great Lakes Legacy Act (at a cost of $303 million), and advances in water waste technology at Purdue, my mind drifted in and out to memories of past years on dental mission trips in Haiti. I couldn’t help but think about the discrepancy between those of who live in an advanced society and those who do not.

One speaker, Mandy Sharp, of UNICEF USA, did pique my interest though. She briefly discussed a program that UNICEF has in 100 countries called WASH (Water, Sanitation & Hygiene). The program works to provide clean water sources, latrines, and education on proper hygiene practices to those who are at risk. Inadequate access to safe water and sanitation, together with poor hygiene practices, kills and sickens thousands of children every day.

Though she did not specifically address Haiti, I did later research and find out that since the 2010 earthquake, WASH programs have been started throughout Haiti. UNICEF is currently working with the Haitian government to create a set of minimum standards for clean water and sanitation in schools. From 2010 and 2011, UNICEF responded with WASH improvements to 198 schools, including new latrines and hand washing stands. As well, much of their work includes educating teachers and children who will then spread the word to their own families on the importance of good practices that will keep them healthy.

While the Summit was not what I had anticipated, I did ultimately learn about WASH and the important work UNICEF is doing in Haiti and around the world. I guess that made my trip worthwhile.

Albert Schweitzer Hospital, Deschapelles Haiti

Reverence for Life

Inspired by Dr. Albert Schweitzer’s humanitarian work in Africa and ethic of “Reverence for Life”, the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Haiti was founded in 1956 by Dr. Larry and Gwen Mellon. The hospital’s mission is “to collaborate with the people of the Artibonite Valley as they strive to improve their health and quality of life”.

 

The Hospital

The 130 bed referral hospital provides surgical services, internal medicine, pediatrics, high-risk maternity care, diagnostic services, and rehabilitation. The hospital receives patients referred from four Ho’pital Albert Schweitzer (HAS) community health centers, as well as health centers operated by the Ministry of Health (MSPP), and other volunteer organizations. It provides hospital care for over 345,000 people living within the 610 square mile service area, and typically receives more than 100 outpatients each day. Of the 130 average daily inpatients, approximately half are children. A typical daily census consists of 38 Surgery, 48 Pediatric, 24 Malnutrition, 10 Maternity and 28 Medicine patients.

 

Outreach

As an extension of the hospital’s reach, community-based health and development programs have also been created to address many health issues. These programs and partnerships include rehabilitation, prosthetics and orthotics, water and sanitation, agro forestry and a focus on malnutrition among Haitian children.

 

Hospital Staff

The hospital employs 14 full-time Haitian physicians and 50 full-time nurses who are supported by visiting specialists from the US and Europe. International volunteers are accepted on a pre-scheduled basis.

You are not able to change the world, but you are able to give hope to one human being

“Ou Pa Ka Chanje Tout Bagay, Min Ou Kapab Bay Yon Moun Espwa”

Albert Schweitzer

Haiti Dental Team Video 2011

Last March while our Dental Team was in Haiti, we met up with Huntington University Production students. One student, Cary Brown, was doing some filming of the country. He asked if he could come to our make-shift clinic with us one day to film us working and to do an interview with a few of the team members. We were honored to be a part of his project and to get the word out about the needs of the people of Haiti. Following is the video he put together.

NWI Times Opinion Editorial

In response to Northwest Indiana Times article, Local experts gather for World Water Day event.

Water is central to our everyday lives. We drink it, consume foods grown with it, shower in it, wash our dishes and clothing in it, swim in it, use hundreds of products made by it, flush our wastes with it, and work in businesses dependant on it—yet our dependence on water is often without much thought. For those of us in developed societies, our day-to-day lives ― quality of life, health, productivity, economic success, and public safety ― are in some way related to access to safe water.

While attending the Purdue University Calumet World Water Day Summit, I was reminded once again of the disparity of those of who live in an advanced society and those who do not. As speakers touted the strides they were making to keep our beaches clean and free of e-coli contamination, the success of dredging projects in the Grand Calumet River and the Roxanna Marsh as part of the Great Lakes Legacy Act (at a cost of $303 million), and advances in water waste technology, my mind drifted in and out to memories of past years on dental mission trips in Haiti.

Memories flashed of seeing people gathering murky water from the river in dirty containers—as well as washing their clothing, bathing, and even driving their vehicles—all through that same river. One overwhelming memory was of a morning when a fellow team member and I decided to go out for a walk. Venturing off the main path, we could see a young girl some distance ahead carrying a five gallon bucket. Struggling, she would walk for awhile with the bucket on one side, then switch to the other, stop, and then carry it out in front of her. As we neared the child, we realized that what she was carrying was a bucket full of water. Although I could not speak Creole fluently, I was able to communicate through gestures that I would help her carry the water. We walked for what seemed a mile sharing the weight of the heavy, awkward, sloshing water that would supply her family their daily (perhaps longer) supply of water to drink, cook in, and wash in. I was overwhelmed by the responsibility that she bore at such a young age to supply her family with a resource that I rarely even considered.

For that child and millions of others around the world, there is no Clean Water Act to set standards that protect uses such as swimming, fishing, drinking, and the regulation of pollution discharges. There is no million dollar project to remove contaminants in the water. There is no advancement in waste water. But there needs to be!

Please take a few moments to think about how fortunate we are to have access to clean, safe water and laws that protect our water quality. Then, take the time to get involved in humanitarian organizations such as UNICEF that are fighting to provide clean water around the globe—because every day should be World Water Day!

Letter to the Editor: Submitted March 13th

 Chronicle-Tribune

610 South Adams Street

Marion IN, 46953

 Editor David Penticuff

International World Water Day is held annually by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) on March 22nd. Each year focuses attention on the importance of freshwater and advocates for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

This year’s theme, Water and Food Security, centers attention on the importance of fresh water resources as well as the importance of water in food production in order to promote more sustainable production and consumption patterns.

For those of us in the Developed world, it is a day to remember the 900 million (1 in 8) people globally who battle with the lack of daily requirements of fresh, safe, drinking water (UNICEF, 2008), the 854 million (15%) of the world’s population who are undernourished, and the 3.5 million people who die of water related diseases due to poor sanitation and inadequate water supply (WHO,2008).

For more information: http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday/about.html

Wanting to attend an event?

Purdue Calumet Water Institute will host a World Water Day Summit on March 22 from 8:00-11:30 am.

Purdue University Calumet

2200 169th St.

Hammond, IN   Powers #123  CIVS Theater

Keynote address will be presented by Scott Ireleand, EPA Region 5. Events also include panel discussions and community roundtable Q&A sessions with speakers from:  Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), Metropolitan Planning Council/What Our Water’s Worth, UNICEF USA, and Purdue Water Institute.

The event is free and open to the public.

To register for Purdue event: http://webs.purduecal.edu/pwi/2012/01/18/world-water-day-summit/

World Water Day Summit 2012 at Purdue Calumet

   World Water Day Summit 2012

    March 22, 8:00-11:30 am

 

 

Purdue University Calumet

2200 169th St.

Hammond, IN   Powers #123  CIVS Theater

Keynote address by Scott Ireland, EPA Region 5.

Panel discussions and community roundtable Q&A sessions with speakers from:  Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), Metropolitan Planning Council, UNICEF USA, and Purdue Water Institute.

Free and open to the public.  Online registration.