Friday, December 03, 2010

Haiti cholera assessment day #5

The questions asked were interesting: if cholera is in the water and in fish, should we not swim in the ocean; why are the dead burned and not buried; where did cholera start; can you get cholera more than once; and what does cholera look like? These were just a few of the many questions asked by the 65 participants at today's training. Pastors, teachers and volunteers from all 15 projects attended. I spoke on the cause of cholera, prevention, treatment, and assessing the sick patient. We had a "show and tell" on how to make chlorinated water, ORS and how to wash our hands. We ended the week of assessment with a powerful take home message: no one should die of cholera and no one should get cholera. Hygiene and sanitation is the key to prevention, and fluid, fluid, fluid are the mainstay of therapy: stay hydrated.

We will be back here in less than a month. I'm bringing a Medical Mercy team of 15, 8 medical and 7 lay. We will be working at a cholera treatment center taking care of the sickest of the sick and doing a comprehensive nutritional assessment of all the children in the projects to identify those who are moderately or severely malnourished. There will be a lot to do, but if it hadn't been for Edrice (our Haiti country facilitator) who put in place the protocols we sent for chlorinated water, the use of ORS and hygiene, we'd be way behind this cholera epidemic. Edrice did an incredible amount of work without complaint or question. He is a true servant. And thanks to Jack for his preliminary assessment of the children and identifying those that I needed to see and for his logistical support and for everything else that he does that goes under the radar but is so important.

The intervention and implementation of our cholera prevention and treatment program served the children of MoM well. I leave tomorrow morning, tired but comforted that what we did worked. And for that I say,

In all things give thanks,

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Haiti assessment #4

It's all good. At least for our children in our projects here in Quanamenthe. We saw children from 7 projects, and the orphanage, and I examined about 150 of them who looked sick. Thankfully only a few needed referrals to a clinic, and none needed urgent attention. All in all, cholera has met it's match, at least in our projects. The chlorine is being used, soap is being lathered up and the children are happy. We visited the local hospital and spoke to the organization that was setting up a cholera treatment center. I was very pleased with what is available for our children if needed.

Tomorrow I speak to about 65 of our project representative who will become our "prevention specialists" responsible for continuous cholera prevention education. I'll be going over the physical findings and how to assess dehydration in children in addition to reviewing the use of chlorine, soap, and the water filters. I can't say it enough. Our projects are in good shape and the children are receiving the best that we can give them.

And so if you're wondering why all the fuss, if you could see what is happening outside the "walls" of our projects, you would see devastation and despair that is never ending. It is hard to imagine.

So for now, we push forward and in all things give thanks.


Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Haiti cholera assessment #3

I am at the border of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Cholera travels. We visited 4 of our projects today and I examined over 100 children and found them all to be healthy! A few had chronic illnesses, but there were no signs cholera in our children! What wonderful news! The chlorine, soap and education is making a difference I believe even though the projects are in some very remote places as a picture above shows. Filth everywhere.

The little child shown was sitting in his mother's bed. She was critically ill with cholera. The face says it all. I could not walk away without making sure that the fragile woman lying there was going to make it. I spoke with the medical team caring for her and went over their plans. A few suggestions, a slight change in therapy and we all agreed she would make it. I can't accept anything less.

We go to 5 more projects tomorrow. I'm hoping to see children who have not been hit by cholera. If that is the case, I'll begin to finalize the plans for the Medical Mercy team that will be coming here January 2-10, 2011. One year after the earthquake. We were here then to help the earthquake victims. We went to India and Kenya after that. Now we'll be here again to help the cholera victims. Then onto Ethiopia and Bangladesh. Because one child matters.

In all things give thanks,