Monday, November 15, 2010

Thankful for technology but still frustrated

My family is in the US right now on a scheduled break getting annual medical and dental care.  But being away from Haiti is harder than ever this year.  As we were leaving, driving through the cholera epicenter two weeks ago, we knew it would get worse.  Since arriving here, we've continued to coordinate getting supplies and info into Haiti.  Just today, we sent IV fluids and other material from our headquarters in central Haiti  to answer requests for supplies from a German NGO (non-gov't org.) in the capital city.  It continues to amaze me that our small little ministry is able to help others (even those much better funded).  It comes from vision on Caleb's part and the incredible network that does exist in Haiti if you know how/where to look. 
We had already sent cholera prevention and treatment info. to our school office in Haiti, getting copies made and delivered today to all schools in our area.  Though Caleb is speaking in Houston this week, he has been on the phone with our school nurse and administrative staff with instructions.  When he returns to Little Rock this week, he plans to record instructions in Kreyol that we can send immediately via internet for broadcast on our radio station downlink in Pignon.  The listening audience there is over 300,000 so hopefully the life saving information will have an effect.   We feel great urgency as several cholera deaths have been confirmed in surrounding neighborhoods.
But I'm still frustrated.  Saddened that people are so  frightened.  Angry that this is so preventable with correct knowleldge.  I wonder how much more people can take.  Just before I left Haiti in late October, I was meeting with students in our sponsorship program to have them all write thank you notes and updates to their stateside friends.  One older student told me how his older brother had died in the earthquake and they'd never recovered his remains.  He was so young to suffer such a loss, but was managing with the grace and stoicism common to the Haitian community.  Now I wonder how he is doing, knowing children in his neighborhood have died this past weekend.  How much more can he and the nation handle?  Presidential elections are scheduled in a few weeks....does anyone there even care?  I don't think I would.  
I'm just hoping, praying, and working to help my friends and family there to survive. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

the media is under reporting? that's a first . . .

My husband's latest post:

Over the past few days, I have received calls from several friends worldwide wanting to know what’s going on with the cholera outbreak in Haiti. Here is the latest info I’ve received this afternoon:

It is extremely difficult to estimate the true scale of this epidemic now. This is a grossly uncontrolled, uncontained epidemic of cholera that has exceeded public health capacity to investigate and assess every site reported and every sample received.

People are afraid to help each other as they are afraid of it spreading

Current official stats are more than 12,300 cases and nearly 800 fatalities.

In some areas of Haiti, we have confirmation that in-patient statistics are under-reported by as much as 400%. There is no question of under-reporting. If we assume the case counts are 1/4 the true community load, then we now have nearly 48,000 cases shedding pathogen into the environment. We believe the true statistic to be closer to more than 60-70,00.

We have confirmed cases at our local hospital in our community of Pignon, our base of operations.  Here is what we have done thus far:

*We have sent cleaning supplies, gloves, and hand sanitizer to the communities of Verrettes, Petite Rivere, St. Mark, and Aquin.

*We have purchased through Missionary Flights International ( about $10,000 worth of supplies such as gloves, IV sets, hand sanitizer, antibiotics that is being distributed to different health centers.

*We have responded to the call for help from the mayor of the community of St. Michel de L’Attalaye and this morning a load of supplies is being delivered-Ringer’s Lactate IV’s, water purifier tablets, gloves & IV sets, and cleaning supplies.

*Tomorrow, we are distributing 350 solar powered radio sets so our radio station can give out correct public health info. to the most remote areas in our listening audience of over 350,000 on the central plateau.

*We have received MannaPak Potato based food from Feed My Starving Children ( these food items are documented to help people recover from acute diarrhea. As of this morning a truck load is being sent to Verrettes for distribution. Once that truck returns, we will be sending it out again with the same material to St. Michel.

*We have distributed literature to our congregation and contacts regarding prevention and care during the disease.

Please note, the interventions are being made based on the most up to date information I am getting from my networks on the ground of the needs they relate to me. These communities are the earliest and hardest hit at present.

What you can do:

1. First you can pray. People are very afraid. Some people in the remote areas are scared to go the hospital because they see the high death rate. It is an example of “for lack of knowledge my people perish.” (Hosea 4:6) Today we have begun a Radio Campaign to educate the communities that we reach about cholera prevention. (Estimated audience: over 350,000)

2. You can help by giving to Hosean International Ministries to help with the outreach. Here is an example of how your giving would be spent via a pharmaceutical supplier who has agreed to sell us the needed supplies at a very good price. Therefore, it requires no shipping cost:

1 box of latex gloves (100pr)………………………………$7.50

1 box sterile gloves (50 pr.)…………………………………$17.00

1 box of Aqua tab (water purifier/100)…………………$3.50

1000cc of IV Ringer’s Lactate…………………………………$2.00

IV sets (20 G & 22G)………………………………………………. $1.30

We can get these items along with other meds only with a phone call and it will be delivered to whatever place we want it delivered in Haiti.  Please pray for the Lord’s provision so that we can continue to reach out to many. Thanks for standing with us.