When it rains it pours. We hope.
Compounding the cycle of the senseless and unnecessary cholera illness and deaths, our ServeHAITI Health Center infrastructure is taking some serious hits during this battle with cholera. We have overused our well and pump, and are literally surviving on rainwater until we can drill a new one. In our remote location a new well and pump will cost $10,000, and can only be completed when the roads are passable.
This doesn’t reduce our courage or commitment to saving lives, but we ask you to stand with us. Donate if you can. Mesi anpil.
The Cholera Story That Never Ends
As the last weeks passed, we counted fewer patients in our cholera tent and dared to hope that the worst of the crisis was behind us, welcoming photos of the rows of empty rough planks where patients normally lie. We saw our patient count dwindle to 0 for a day or two, and rise again to 11 this week. Last night we were jolted, again, by the death of two cholera patients.
Though we tire of writing about these senseless deaths, and you tire ofreading about them, we draw from the hopeful humanity of the people we serve, and especially our staff on the ground who have faced this beast for months. Our regular supply lists now include clorox, body bags and extra IV supplies; we accept this sad reality. We are expanding our efforts in community cholera education and are allocating even more resources in the coming months. We are hopeful.
A Haitian proverb says ‘Sak vid pa kanpe’, an empty sack doesn’t stand. ServeHAITI needs your help to stop this deadly cycle of cholera. We are determined to carry out our plans, and have the systems in place to change the end of this story. Please stand with us. Donate using the link below if you can. Mesi Anpil.
THE CHOLERA CHRONICLES: help us change the ending……
After weeks of intense struggle with cholera, our days follow a more predictable cycle. We set up a separate cholera treatment tent in our garden, with help from the Haitian government and NGO representatives. Our water teams work to distribute chlorine tablets and purification systems to areas near the original source of the disease. Our health workers are continuing their push to educate our neighbors on sanitation and ways to prevent cholera. We are transporting clean water from our wells to community cisterns in areas further afield. Our staff have learned to live with less sleep. We have shipped hundreds of pounds of precious supplies to treat this disaster. We are receiving fewer cases each day, though we now face patients coming from two separate, new areas. We mobilized quickly and efficiently, without hesitation, and with much faith. We fought this fight, and we are preparing to fight the next one. Your generous support makes this possible, and we thank you.
As we consider the enormity of what we have been able to accomplish here as first responder to this enormous challenge, we are profoundly grateful. We consider the 2 who died in our clinic, and the others who died in their homes or along the path to our door. And we struggle with the questions. What would have happened if ServeHAITI were not here and had not been working for years to provide clean water? How many more would have died? How many more will die?
This is why we ServeHAITI. Your donations to ServeHAITI are a direct investment in the humanity of our neighbors in Grand Bois. Please donate and share this post to let others know what a profound impact we are making.
On Sunday 9 new cases arrived at the clinic. We are still operating out of our crowded, unfinished structure, and are on the verge of needing to put up tents to care for incoming patients, but have fallen into a rhythm of hope that this monster would subside. We are still operating with only our clinic staff, though government officials began arriving with some supplies and field support for research. Early Monday, our spirits again fell when a new patient died; he was too far gone.
We received 15 new cases throughout the day Monday, but we also were able to procure 100,000 water purification tablets and found the resources to have them delivered to our remote location! We will continue to care for our patients, but will also focus on appropriate distribution of these tablets to try to stem the spread of this deadly disease. The center of the outbreak is a 5 hour donkey ride from our clinic, so even finding the index case is a challenge, and chasing the path of the disease even more of a task. But we are there, doing our best. Please stay with us; share and donate.
Yesterday the reality of cholera began to settle in as we received a few much needed supplies and fell into some sort of routine. It felt like a good day because no one died, but just one glance into the crowded room of mothers holding bare bottomed babies connected to IV poles reminded us of the horrendous struggle facing these families, and our staff. As night fell, we heard sweet, hopeful hymns being sung and wondered if neighbors had come to comfort the sick. In the surest sign of the goodness that lives in the Haitian spirit, we found that it was the mothers who were holding their sick children singing songs of faith. THIS is why we serve. Please stand with us. Share this post and donate using the link below if you can.
A Haitian proverb says ‘misery never sleeps’. Neither does cholera. As our medical staff work double shifts to cover our makeshift cholera clinic as well as normal patients, we are adding extra nurses to our efforts. We are using gallons of Clorox to spray everyone and everything in the vicinity of patients. Our stock of precious IV catheters is waning. We need body bags. We are renting donkeys to send teams out to distribute water purification supplies to the source of the cholera. We now have 25 cholera cases, several of whom are children, with more arriving. Please stand with us. Share and donate (using the link below) to help us save lives.
A worried mother carried her sick baby into the Health Center before 7 am. Then came another. And another. 6 new cholera patients in one day, all the more worrying because they are vulnerable, undernourished babies whose very breath is at risk. We are setting up an isolation unit outside to prepare for more, but this takes emergency resources and we need your help.
These patients have only ServeHAITI to depend on, and we depend on you. Please share and donate if you can using the link below. #healthishope
Cholera is a misery that came to Haiti through no fault of its own, but Haitian people have scarce resources to fight it. Though Grand Bois, our target region, is barely accessible by road, cholera has no trouble finding it. We now have our first case of the year at the ServeHAITI clinic, and are ramping up our efforts to prevent an outbreak.
Apart from providing general healthcare to the people of Grand Bois, ServeHAITI runs a Community Health Team that visits homes in the region teaching basic health and hygiene, with specific focus on water born illnesses like cholera. Our Gift of Water Team blankets the region installing bucket filtration systems and training families to use and maintain them. We are drilling more wells to bring clean water closer to our community of 65,000. We will meet cholera head on, as we have done in years past.