Helping People To Help People

Sanitation And Public Health

There are four pandemics in Haiti, 1)cholera, 2)malaria, 3)TB, and 4)HIV Aids (heterosexual transmission)

When I met with the pastors in the Anse du Clerc region, I asked them about the most important needs of the community. Water was certainly one of them, but another need was toilets for the community. That request seemed strange at the time. I had seen homes with out-houses, but in the country and mountains public sanitation is almost non-existent. Pathfinder Mission has committed to helping these rural communities build public toilets or out-houses. We are going to build a toilet for each house we build as well. Not only do the people need toilets, but they need to be taught about public health.

Providing toilets stops short of fulfilling the need. We need to promote public health practices through training. I have a photo of a truck traveling in the Carnival parade (Mardis Gras equivalent) in Jacmel. The truck had a sign in the back with a graphic and the words in Creole, "Don't poop on the ground." Does that seem odd to have a message like that in a parade? The fact is that sign speaks volumes about the public sanitation problem in Haiti. Limiting opportunities for disease is important no matter where you might live, but it is especially important in the rural and mountainous areas where medication and medical treatment are very often hours away.

If you would like to contribute towards the cost of providing public sanitation to a village, visit the Donate page.