Children’s charity Plan International is scaling up its work in Haiti as fears grow over an outbreak of deadly cholera following an increase in reported cases.
Up to 250,000 people could be at risk as the current seasonal rains and upcoming hurricane season increase the danger of contracting the disease.
“Numbers of deaths have yet to be reported but over 7,000 people alone died from the outbreak in 2010/11 and there are fears that these numbers could increase,” says Plan’s country director in Haiti, John Chalonor.
Aid workers for Plan have launched an awareness campaign in schools and local communities in effort to prevent an outbreak.
Young volunteers and teachers are being trained in hygiene and sanitation alongside the distribution of cholera prevention and hygiene kits.
Plan is also working to facilitate Cholera Treatment Units.
Lack of protection of water sources and poor hygiene are the main factors behind the highly contagious disease which spreads through dirty water.
“The Government of Haiti and donors should invest in the building of cost effective and efficient water networks in urban areas and water and sanitation facilities for rural areas to ensure adequate access to potable water,” says Mr Chaloner.
“Water and sanitation standards should be included in school construction standards.”
Plan workers are reporting the need for disinfectant, oral rehydration and water treatment materials, and access to potable water and sanitation kits.
Future work from Plan is likely to include the further training of young volunteers and a widened distribution of hygiene kits as part of its awareness activities.
For more information on Plan’s work or to make a donation call 0800 526 848 or visit www.plan-uk.org