Monday, October 25, 2010

Cholera - it's all about prevention

As we wait to see if the cholera epidemic is indeed going to reach Port-au-Prince, I have readjusted my life schedule and am devoting myself to Cholera Prevention Education. Since the disease has no real cure and can spread to large numbers of people very quickly, it is essential that the people understand what the illness is, how they can be infected, how to protect themselves, and how to treat it.

Over the weekend, I taught at St Joseph's, Dorothy's, the youth group, a church in my neighborhood, and 4 tent cities, including the one here on my street. This morning, I spoke to 16 different classrooms at the largest elementary and high school in my area (close to 500 students) and in the afternoon, I spoke to 300 students at the second largest school. I have appointments tomorrow with 2 other schools and another large tent city and my clinic assistant Lucson is going to start teaching in the Delmas 24 area tomorrow also. In a city as populous as Port-au-Prince, the number of people that we can personally teach is minute, but if my audiences do as I'm asking and spread the word, we could have a very positive impact on our communities.

People are extremely receptive because they are fearful. However, overall, the panic level seems to have dropped a bit since Saturday when I first started teaching. Perhaps people are feeling better prepared or perhaps the slowing death rates in the Artibonite region have offered some reassurement. There have been 5 reported cases of cholera in Port-au-Prince, but they were all individuals who left the affected area before becoming ill. So far, as far as we know, no new cases that did not originate in Artibonite have been identified in the capital.

My boss arrives tomorrow afternoon with rehydration salts, IV solutions, gloves, hand sanitizer and some medications that may accelerate recovery. Most of my NGO friends are, like me, doing a lot of teaching, but life for most people, is simply continuing as always while we wait. Will it hit or will it not?

Keep the prayer support coming. I firmly believe that it is only the hand of God that can keep this illness from ravaging our city.


Meg said...

you're amazing, wish I was there helping!

Meredith said...

you always were the best teacher, remember our study groups in undergrad? :)

Hannah Schundler said...

you are a great teacher, keziah. i am remember you and dave's dehydration talk with the different color bug juices at camp this summer. praying for you!