Confidence, but not yet an all-clear signal

by Antje Weber/RBU,  2012/04/11

During the past few weeks, great commotion arose in Brazzaville, after the first cases of cholera had been reported at the reception camps for homeless people. In the meantime, more than 20 cases have been reported; eight of them were confirmed officially.

humedica coordinator Antje Weber has been organising the relief measures in the Republic of Congo since the beginning of April. Photo: humedica

In surroundings with dismal hygienic conditions the disease often spreads with an alarming speed and it can claim numerous victims. humedica reacted immediately and sent the experienced physician Dr. Irmgard Harms, who had already set up and successfully operated the cholera treatment centre in the north of Haiti.

The risk of a cholera outbreak is highest if the drinking water is dirty and hygienic conditions are dismal”, explains Dr. Irmgard Harms. After the first cases of cholera had been reported in Brazzaville and a plea for support had been published by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the relief doctor and long-standing head of a health authority interrupted her current mission in Ethiopia and boarded a plane to the Republic of Congo. After a first visit to the camps, she is, however, visibly relieved.

At every camp people dispose of clean drinking water. That definitely diminishes the threat of the epidemic spreading on a large-scale. But in many places hygienic conditions are still insufficient and a final all-clear signal cannot be given”, the expert summarises her impressions.

In order to improve hygienic conditions and to prevent the cholera from spreading further, the humedica team in the Republic of Congo has already implemented first relief measures. At two of the camps they distributed so-called hygiene kits, which contain for example soap, toothbrushes and toilet paper. By means of this measure, at least basic hygienic conditions can be achieved at the camps.

Furthermore, it is important to take care above all of the children. They are particularly prone to the intestinal infection which can in the worst case be fatal. During the past two weeks, a humedica doctor team offered medical aid at one of the camps and became aware of one major problem: "Many of the children wear their diapers for several days. This causes skin problems. Also germs can spread more easily", explains Dr. Irmgard Harms.

In order to counteract this problem, humedica has provided diapers to all children below the age of three at all eight camps. We distributed more than 3,500 reusable diapers, which will facilitate maintaining hygienic conditions at the camps.

Apart from diapers, humedica also distributed hygiene packages to families at the reception camps in order to promote at least a minimum degree of hygiene. Photo: humedica/Ursula Miller

Furthermore, humedica assistants continue treating the victims of the explosion series at a hospital in Brazzaville. The burns need to be cleaned, dressings changed and infections need to be treated. Both in order to implement relief measures to keep a cholera epidemic at bay, and to offer still necessary, medical treatment to the explosion victims, we continue to depend on your support in form of a targeted donation.

      humedica e. V.
      Donation reference “Disaster Congo
      Account 47 47
      Bank Code 734 500 00
      Sparkasse Kaufbeuren
      IBAN: DE35734500000000004747

Also by means of sending a short text message, you can achieve great results: simply send a text message containing the reference DOC to +49 8 11 90 and you will make a donation of 5 euros in order to support the humedica projects.

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