Cholera Update for “Our Village”

Our contacts in Haiti report that cholera is more widespread than initially reported.  It has reached the rural villages near our sister parish, St. Therese, but our clinic in Boileau has not yet diagnosed a case of cholera. As you have heard on the news, cholera can spread rapidly, and, once contracted, cholera can cause death in a few days…sometimes in hours.; But the other concern is that it can remain dormant in an infected person for several days, then erupt.  This increases the threat of spreading to several parts of Haiti. As people flee from the epidemic locations, they can be carriers even though they do not have symptoms.  Since Boileau has been so welcoming of refugees, there is a high risk of having the bacteria in the community.

The greatest threat for transmission is contaminated water supply, so your help is having a life-or-death impact once again.  The 17 wells and hand pumps for clean water that your gifts have provided in and around the village of Boileau are a source of clean water for several thousand families. The villages estimate that each well provides water for at least a thousand people, with a rough estimate of some 25,000 people depending on all the wells. Even before the cholera threat, the doctor at the clinic reported that the wells had transformed the villages.  The clean water dramatically reduced the wide-spread problems from ingesting the parasites and bacteria in the surface water.  The ripple effect of this reaches into all parts of the village life – even to allowing kids to stay in school for higher grades.  (See the update on the school in this website for more details.)

Please continue praying that the efforts to stop the epidemic are effective. The tent-cities of earthquake refugees are the most vulnerable. We are communicating with some medical teams to see how we can help with treatment and containing/controlling the transmission.

Update on Help – food, water , books, and benches

Update notes: The villagers in Boileau are working to recover from the quake and flooding rains.The water has started to abate and they are trying to salvage what they can from the flooded gardens.Some is recoverable; much was destroyed by the floods.

Since we had help in the pipeline, we’ve been able to get them some food and medicine. Thanks to help from you, even the families hit hardest are still able to have a little food.

The initial reports were that all the wells had survived the quake and floods.It turned out that three wells were actually damaged. Again, thanks to your sacrifices we could respond quickly to repair the three, damaged wells; they now have clean water again.

Kids are returning to school. Again, because of your generous donations, the refugee children will soon have benches and books.

Donations to the garage sale–and the hard work of volunteers–produced a huge impact: the two weekends generated $1,900.00. Despite the snow and cold, the first weekend earned $500The second weekend almost tripled that – $1,400. This money will help repair homes. We are planning a third garage sale on April 17.

We are working with a group in New Jersey to use the Boileau clinic as the treatment center for a medical mission in late April.  They will have 10 to 15 doctors and nurses there for a week.  The buildings in Cavaillon they planned to use were damaged by the earthquake. This is an exciting opportunity to collaborate with another group.  We are hoping to build some on-going collaboration for expanded medical care.

Thanks for everyone’s help!!

Health is the top priority

As mentioned previously, at the turn of the century the doctor and nurse who spent a few hours there every week, had to meet their patients and ply their trade under a tree.  There was no building to practice medicine, or to keep their instruments and medicine; just a tree.
Picture

Clinic entrance

 

Picture

Reception

 

The St. Phillip parish provided a building, then funds for medical staff, supplies and diagnostic equipment.  With assistance from another parish they provided an electric generator which was needed to power the equipment.  In the past several years it has grown considerably.  It is now the best medical facility in that part of Haiti; some patients walk several miles to get there.  St. Phillips has committed to ongoing support.
Picture

Weighing in

 

Picture

Lab Tech

 

The clinic has hours 5 days a week and the doctor now visits twice a week.  The current staff includes the head nurse, a nurse / pharmacist, two lab technicians and the receptionist / records keeper.
Picture

Pharmacy

 

Picture

Waiting patiently

 

St. Phillip’s parish pays part of the salaries and pharmaceutical cost.  They also have bought 2 microscopes, beds, IV poles,  and miscellaneous other furniture.  Most patients pay a portion of the expense of office visits and medicine.  Those with no money are not charged.

As Boileau’s Clinic became a reality, the staff quickly realized that the main medical problem was caused by contaminated water.  Their water came from shallow wells and/or creeks and rivers which serve as bathing and cooling facilities for both humans and animals.

Picture

Pumping water from an artesian well.

 

Picture

Busy well by the church.

 

Picture

Carrying water back home

 

St. Phillip quickly decided to provide potable water.  By 2004, 10 artesian wells had been drilled, they now have 15 wells in Boileau and neighboring parishes, providing potable water for 10 to 15 thousand people.  This new supply of good water greatly reduced the number of easily treatable intestinal problems, which cause about 50% of the childhood deaths in Haiti.

The 15 deep wells, which were tested during the 2004 and 2006 visits, provide considerable clean, healthy water

Picture

Testing water quality

 

Picture

Testing water quality

 

Picture

Fetching water