Educating Haitians about cholera prevention after Hurricane Matthew
SHOPS Plus disseminated two million text messages to 200,000 low-income Haitians in response to Hurricane Matthew and the related cholera epidemic. As a result of this effort, 5,600 people responded to obtain further information.
More than 5,800 people in Haiti are suspected to have contracted cholera since Hurricane Matthew struck the Caribbean nation in October 2016. Many affected areas were cut off from traditional information sources, such as radio.
SHOPS Plus created a mobile health program that disseminated text messages about cholera treatment and prevention in Haitian Creole. Consumers could opt into the program by calling a number. The topics included handwashing, recognizing symptoms, digging latrines, and preparing oral rehydration solution.
Below are English translations of some of the messages:
- Wash your hands with soap and water before meals, before and after you take care of babies, after going to the toilet, and when touching things other people have touched such as money.
- Preparing ORS: a full gallon and treated water, add six tablespoons sugar and half teaspoon salt. Seal gallon every time.
- People with cholera should drink plenty of fluids to replace water being lost through diarrhea. Continue breastfeeding.
SHOPS Plus staff in Haiti are providing additional cholera prevention and treatment information through health educators, a weekly Voice of America radio program, and mass media campaigns.
As SHOPS Plus expands the mobile behavior change communication program, the project will offer more information about cholera, family planning, child diarrhea, and Zika through text messages and an on-demand, interactive voice response program.