Wednesday 31 March 2010
As the countdown to rainy season in Haiti gathers momentum, World Vision is warning that children may miss out on healthcare when they need it the most.
With children already vulnerable through crowded, filthy conditions, exposure and lack of nutritious food, the rain will further heighten health risks, including malaria and dengue fever, diarrhea and other water-borne diseases.
“When it comes to healthcare, the emergency is most definitely not over,” said Claire Beck, World Vision’s Response Health Manager in Port-au-Prince.
“The children in Haiti were facing a chronic health emergency even before the quake. This massive disaster has created even greater challenges. Now the rains will bring more unsanitary conditions, more mosquitoes, more fevers for children. I’m extremely concerned.”
To save lives, World Vision is calling on the Haitian government to extend its waiver on public clinic and hospital fees past the initially agreed 3 month period. The spike in illness caused by the rains is expected to occur just as the waiver expires on 12 April.
Efforts to clear drains and other flood reduction projects are also a race against time. World Vision is working to improve drainage, toilets, water supply and garbage disposal in the 17 camps where they work.
World Vision’s child health response in Port-au-Prince includes 5 mobile health teams providing basic health services and a variety of community education and public health initiatives. Many food distributions are “women only” to ensure mothers have a say in how the food is used. Private tents create safe places for mothers to breastfeed or meet to share knowledge on childcare. In addition, medical supplies and equipment are being supplied to 11 hospitals, and clean birthing kits are being distributed in the camps for the many women who are not able to deliver in the relative safety of a hospital.
World Vision has been working in Haiti for more than 30 years. After the earthquake, the aid agency responded with immediate assistance to affected families and provided hospitals with medical supplies. As we partner in the rebuilding of Haiti, a strong, equitable government healthcare system will be one of our priority goals.
Read latest updates about World Vision’s response and children sponsored by Australians here.
You can donate to the Haiti earthquake appeal here.