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BMJ Glob Health ; 4(6): e001834, 2019.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31798994


Introduction: A cholera epidemic began in Haiti over 8 years ago, prompting numerous, largely quantitative research studies. Assessments of local 'knowledge, attitudes and practices' relevant for cholera control have relied primarily on cross-sectional surveys. The voices of affected Haitians have rarely been elevated in the scientific literature on the topic. Methods: We undertook focus groups with stakeholders in the Artibonite region of Haiti in 2011, as part of planning for a public health intervention to control cholera at the height of the epidemic. In this study, we coded and analysed themes from 55 community members in five focus groups, focusing on local experiences of cholera and responses to the prevention messages. Results: The majority of participants had a personal experience with cholera and described its spread in militaristic terms, as a disease that 'attacked' individuals, 'ravaged' communities and induced fear. Pre-existing structural deficiencies were identified as increasing the risk of illness and death. Knowledge of public health messages coincided with some improvements in water treatment and handwashing, but not changes in open defecation in their community, and was sometimes associated with self-blame or shame. Most participants cited constrained resources, and a minority listed individual neglect, for inconsistent or unimproved practices. Conclusion: The experience of epidemic cholera in a rural Haitian community at the beginning of a major outbreak included a high burden and was exacerbated by poverty, which increased risk while hindering practice of known prevention messages. To interrupt cholera transmission, public health education must be paired with investments in structural improvements that expand access to prevention and healthcare services.

Risk Manag Healthc Policy ; 9: 87-100, 2016.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27307774


Since the beginning of the cholera epidemic in Haiti 5 years ago, the prevalence of this deadly water-borne disease has fallen far below the initial rates registered during its explosive outset. However, cholera continues to cause extensive suffering and needless deaths across the country, particularly among the poor. The urgent need to eliminate transmission of cholera persists: compared to the same period in 2014, the first 4 months of 2015 saw three times the number of cholera cases. Drawing upon epidemiology, clinical work (and clinical knowledge), policy, ecology, and political economy, and informed by ethnographic data collected in a rural area of Haiti called Bocozel, this paper evaluates the progress of the nation's 10-year Plan for the Elimination of Cholera. Bocozel is a rice-producing region where most people live in extreme poverty. The irrigation network is decrepit, the land is prone to environmental shocks, fertilizer is not affordable, and the government's capacity to assist farmers is undermined by resource constraints. When peasants do have rice to sell, the price of domestically grown rice is twice that of US-imported rice. Canal water is not only used to irrigate thousands of acres of rice paddies and sustain livestock, but also to bathe, wash, and play, while water from wells, hand pumps, and the river is used for drinking, cooking, and bathing. Only one out of the three government-sponsored water treatment stations in the research area is still functional and utilized by those who can afford it. Latrines are scarce and often shared by up to 30 people; open defecation remains common. Structural vulnerabilities cut across all sectors - not just water, sanitation, health care, and education, but agriculture, environment, (global and local) commerce, transportation, and governance as well. These are among the hidden sicknesses that impede Haiti and its partners' capacity to eliminate cholera.

Environ Urban ; 27(1): 89-104, 2015 Apr.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-26097288


Container-based sanitation (CBS) - in which wastes are captured in sealable containers that are then transported to treatment facilities - is an alternative sanitation option in urban areas where on-site sanitation and sewerage are infeasible. This paper presents the results of a pilot household CBS service in Cap Haitien, Haiti. We quantify the excreta generated weekly in a dense urban slum,(1) the proportion safely removed via container-based public and household toilets, and the costs associated with these systems. The CBS service yielded an approximately 3.5-fold decrease in the unmanaged share of faeces produced, and nearly eliminated the reported use of open defecation and "flying toilets" among service recipients. The costs of this pilot small-scale service were higher than those of large-scale waterborne sewerage, but economies of scale have the potential to reduce CBS costs over time. The paper concludes with a discussion of planning and policy implications of incorporating CBS into the menu of sanitation options for rapidly growing cities.