Waterborne Disease Hits Close to Home
The past couple of weeks have been a new kind of learning experience for Sasha and myself, as we, along with several other people in our neighborhood, came down with Typhoid Fever. Although it hasn’t been a fun or easy experience, Sasha and I count ourselves incredibly lucky and grateful to have access to medical facilities and treatment, and most especially to have a safe and comfortable place to convalesce and to call home. We are ever more aware of the precariousness of life for most people in Haiti, who often do not have access to any form of health care, and all too often do not have a home.
Additionally, this experience highlights the incredible importance of safe sanitation, proper hygiene, and access to clean water. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, many latrines overflowed and seeped into wells and other water sources, greatly increasing the risk of Typhoid and numerous other waterborne diseases, particularly cholera. To date there have been over 9000 new cases of cholera documented since Hurricane Sandy. Without established sanitation infrastructure or safe waste treatment and removal methods, these watery conditions quickly become extremely dangerous. In a country where cholera has already claimed thousands of lives, it is sobering to consider how much work is still to be done. Sasha and I are now on the mend, and more committed than ever to continue providing safe, environmentally conscious sanitation services to people throughout Haiti. We dream of a day when everyone in Haiti has access to a home, safe sanitation, and clean water.