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Way to Health
414 Towne Ct.
Alvin, TX 77511
October 10, 2022, Way to Health had a team of 4 Cite Soleil natives- a doctor, a member of the emergency response team, a college student, and a father- walk through the streets with a megaphone, medications, and water treatments to attempt to make a dent in the latest cholera outbreak. Way to Health, a medical mission NGO in Texas, does the majority of its work in Cite Soleil, Haiti, the poorest and most dangerous slum in the Western Hemisphere and arguably, the world.
That same month, Way to Health sent their Haitian team to 13 zones in Cite Soleil to treat individuals infected with cholera, provide water treatment and education. The team went house-to-house with pre-dispensed doses of doxycycline, rehydration salts, water treatment tablets, and flyers with CDC cholera prevention information to display throughout the community. Despite Cite Soleil being without electricity for over a year due to gang violence, the team managed to print flyers. Doxycycline and rehydration tablets were prescribed to all active cholera patients, regardless of age. While walking through the zones, the team hung the flyers and taught communities about safe drinking water and cholera prevention via megaphone.
Cholera is an acute diarrheal infection caused by consuming contaminated food or water. In Cite Soleil, Haiti, providing safe drinking water is difficult, particularly with the increase in gang activity, causing the city to have no water for months. Sewage buildup in some areas reaches up to six feet high, as all sewage from Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas drains to Cite Soleil. The Way to Health medical team suspects that water truck tanks, rarely cleaned, spread cholera, hepatitis E, hepatitis A, typhoid, dysentery, and E.coli. The team met with 107 households in 13 zones, totaling 528 people. At least one person per household was symptomatic with profuse diarrhea and vomiting for an average of three days, leading Way to Health to believe that all natives they saw were infected with cholera.
While the media reports a surge in cholera cases, the Haiti Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) reports no cases since January 2019. However, within three days of MSPP reporting 32 laboratory confirmed cases and 224 suspected cases in late September 2022, the Way to Health team reported at least 107 suspected cases of cholera in only 13 out of 34 zones in Cite Soleil. Way to Health has observed unusual illnesses caused by living in sewage since 2014.
Way to Health has provided healthcare to over 10,000 patients since 2014, often leading the aid where many organizations will not. Despite the difficulties and risks, Lisa O'Brien, RN, Way to Health Founder and President, said, “That is a new level of love for your community.” Fedelin Israel, a Haitian Way to Health volunteer and college student native in Cite Soleil, said, “Our cases of cholera are increasing day by day… I hope that with what we have given, we made a difference compared to the number of people who fall ill each day.”
When we do patient care in Haiti, the donations pay for hired Haitian medical staff, medications for each patient, wound care supplies, IV hydration tools, and, for translators and security. Clinic days are long from early am until sunset. In country Doctors and Nurses are hired to work with us treating 100 to 250 patients per day.
The patients' vital signs and chief complaints are taken by the nursing staff. The Doctors assess and diagnose. If medications are ordered, the patient is given a 20-day supply with teaching from the staff. Often reading glasses are donated, if so, a missionary will assess for correct strength. Diseases encountered are Tuberculosis, Typhoid, Cholera, Pneumonia, Bronchitis, Intestinal Worms, Malnourishment, and Sexually Transmitted Diseases. The most common cause of infant death is dehydration and fever; therefore, a simple antibiotic can cure a baby.
For those patients who are unable to walk to the clinic because of weakness and illness, the mission team will pack medical supplies, medications and assessment tools and walk to see them. Way to Health is run entirely by volunteers, donating their time and skills to run the foundation. Your donation goes directly to purchase medications, supplies and in country medical assistance.
Contact us for the next scheduled trip. Missionaries pay their own travel expenses, food, lodging and water. Mission travel is eight days. Trip itineraries are planned months in advance to ensure a successful trip for the poor. Health and business professionals put their skills to the test in mobile medical clinics, working alongside and training the poor.