On July 14, Cate Oswald, PIH’s Haiti-based coordinator for community health, sent a general update on our work in Bay Tourib – an isolated village in Haiti’s Central Plateau. PIH/ZL staff are collaborating with Fondation KANPE, Fonkoze, and community members to build a much needed health clinic, a cholera treatment unit and a dormitory in Bay Tourib.
With cholera cases on the rise, our teams are working around the clock to build the infrastructure for critical health services in this rural town – separated from the nearest clinic by a five-hour walk through rough terrain.
On July 10, Dr. Rigaud, director of PIH/ZL’s Thomonde Clinic, and Cate met with community leaders in Bay Tourib, a necessary step to ensure continued progress on construction for the village’s first health clinic. See her first-hand account below of the rapid progress the team on the ground is making.
Bay Tourib Clinic Update
I’m happy to report that since receiving funds from Foundation KANPE last week, electricity is installed, laboratory shelving is in place, and community members have collected gravel and sand for that cement blocks that will be used to make the clinic’s addition and the staff residence. A crew of 25 is working hard to get the clinic up and running as quickly as possible.
It’s exciting to see what a difference one week can make!
The wonderful community members of Bay Tourib are putting their hands together – kole zepol – to make repairs and improvements as quickly as possible. For those of you who have made the long, bumpy trek to Bay Tourib, just the fact that we have 250 bags of cement and a whole slew of construction materials in place is a feat in and of itself.
Bay Tourib Cholera Treatment Unit
With the rainy season upon us and cases of cholera increasing PIH/ZL and Foundation KANPE have decided to construct a cholera treatment unit in addition to the health clinic in Bay Tourib.
Instead of using tents we are building a semi-permanent structure with cement floors, plywood walls, and a tin roof – as we know cholera will be around for years to come. We are doing this at all of our 15 cholera treatment centers to make them more stable.
This approach does not require us to wait for tents to be found and available, and is our best option right now.
Dr. Rigaud and I met with the owner of the land directly adjacent to the clinic, on which the owner had planted corn, beans, and potatoes. He donated the land for the cholera center; in return he will work as head of security for the cholera center and ensure proper waste management. This will be the first time in his life that this farmer will receive a monthly salary.
By 8am [on July 12], 50 community members had cleared the land for the cholera clinic. As we need to prioritize the cholera clinic right now, we are focusing on this ahead of finishing repairs and enhancements to the general clinic so that services can be provided ASAP.
Just yesterday our pickup truck from the Thomonde hospital had to make six trips up and down the mountain road to pick up patients sick with cholera to get them to the treatment center – a five-hour walk for a healthy person. The cholera treatment unit in Bay Tourib couldn’t be more needed.
As you can imagine, this cholera unit in Bay Tourib was not planned…it is coming as a necessity as people are dying en route to the Thomonde hospital, or arriving too dehydrated to be saved.
Currently we need funds for consumables – like ringer’s lactate – and latrine construction. Currently, we are going through 1,000s of bags of ringer’s lactate a day across all of our sites, and with the average cholera patient requiring about 10 bags of IV solution, at about $1 per bag, this quickly adds up.
We have hired and trained 13 new community health workers (CHW) for the Bay Tourib area to focus solely on hygiene – spraying homes with Clorox, distributing soap and water treatment and oral rehydration solution.
These 13 CHWs will join 75 new cholera-focused CHWs working in Thomonde and surrounding areas who are part of an effort to hire 1,000 new CHWs this summer. This significantly bolsters PIH/ZL’s cadre of 2,500 CHWs focusing on hygiene promotion and cholera prevention.
Their work is only a quick fix as rains create flash floods, pouring human waste into rivers that serve as the only drinking water source for miles. Though the situation can seem tough at times, PIH/ZL’s efforts have saved tens of thousands of people affected by cholera since last October.
Thanks to each one of you for your ongoing commitment to our partnership in Thomonde, and especially to the 6000 community members of Bay Tourib!
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