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Christmas and Cholera in Haiti

January 10, 2011

My fellow resident and nurse  friends – during their first Christmas as a married couple – went to kick some V. cholera ass in Haiti.

I wanted to share this news clip about them since I think it was pretty noble that they gave up their Christmas to put themselves at risk to provide some hope in a desperate situation. Their help comes at a critical time. With the initial damage done and much of the emergency assistance now gone, there is still great need. It’s not surprising that a failure to create basic sanitation infrastructure has resulted in the tragic state the country is now in. It is surprising how generous people like Simon and Ali continue to be.

Canadians donated the most per capita to the relief effort in Haiti. Our water purification technology was also critical in the early stages, but – as Simon says – basic teaching about hygiene and water safety is sorely lacking.

The process of rebuilding is marred by levels of corruption so profound that it may be decades before things are back to the pre-disaster status. Even that was not a great country.

In Dead Aid, Dambisa Moyo posits that third-world Africa would be better off without foreign financial aid. Contrary to our belief that more money means more help, we may be doing more harm than good. The influx of money destroys the fragile economy and feeds into corruption, corruption prevents development, and the poorest suffer. This philosophy cannot be applied to the immediate period after a natural disaster, however it may explain in part why Haiti was so vulnerable.

It’s controversial where the cholera came from, but it has been a tough blow on the road to normalcy. In the video, glamorous tasks like dumping out buckets full of diarrhea, or assessing patients on the brink, are thankfully not pictured. The whole thing is a dirty job; fortunately there are some brave people willing to do it:

They were also featured in the Times Colonist and in the Nanaimo Bulletin.

Way to go guys!

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