While the number of admissions to the HAS cholera treatment units have declined somewhat, it is now clear that people are continuing to be infected and to become seriously ill. In the current phase of the disease, it is most frequently transmitted between individuals, rather than directly from polluted water sources. In order to significantly reduce the exposure to the disease, HAS has started to implement a major effort to provide latrines in the most affected areas. This, when combined with personal hygiene, such as hand-washing, and treating drinking water, is the most effective way to reduce transmission.
The strategy which we are implementing now is to build latrines in the zones where we have been finding the highest rates of cholera. With support from a donor, HAS has been building latrines in three communities with high rates of cholera infection. In this phase, approximately 50 latrines will be built. As soon as several selected households have dug an acceptable pit, HAS sends a bos mason to cast the slabs and seat. The households can build a shelter of their choosing.
We are also experimenting with multi-space latrines and composting toilets; the first of these will be finished this week in the area behind the small market which borders the road into the hospital. RenoldEstime, the manager of the HAS Water and Sanitation unit, used a construction plan from the Internet to build our experimental model, and with further adjustments, these will be installed in several high-use areas, such as in our dispensaries or community centers.
We hope that these new facilities will serve to reduce the spread of cholera, and to reduce the incidence of other hygiene-related diseases.