Convincing the Community to Get Rid of Disease Sources in Alsalam Neighborhood, Rada'aAdel Othman, Translated by Wael Almahsan
Monday, 10 July, 2017
In Rada'a, all the talk in the streets was about the cholera outbreak, until it reached people living outside the governorate and in May 5th, 2017 a woman in her 50s arrived to Rada'a's Central Hospital suffering from diarrhea and vomiting, she was patient zero in Rada'a. Knowing that there is an infected person in Rada'a drove the crowded city into a state of panic. NFDHR's WASH team moved with the medical team to the hospital to examine the patient, the results came positive. The team then started gathering information about the patient who lives in Alsalam neighborhood in Rada'a city, Al Bayda, and they prepared a contingency plan. Once the medical team was done examining the patient, other patients arrived to the hospital showing the same symptoms. The team knew then the severity of the situation and the importance of moving fast.
The WASH team moved to Alsalam neighborhood to check on water and sanitation services there and what they found shocked them. The sanitation services were in a poor condition, many sumps appeared in the streets, and the trash swallowed the almost everything. The team found themselves in a difficult situation and they realized that awareness sessions and chlorination would not be enough to stop the cholera outbreak, the only solution is a community intervention to accomplish the impossible. The team split into two groups; the first handled the chlorination of water sources, conducting the awareness sessions and distributing the chlorine pills, while the second had to communicate with the local community leaders in Alsalam neighborhood to find any solutions that could reduce the risks of the environmental hazards.
WASH coordinator in Al Bayda, Eng. Hamood Juzailan, said "The situation in Alsalam neighborhood was disastrous, the streets were no longer streets, they were slumps. The team had to reach the neighborhood's leader and a number of the community leaders and explain the dangerous risks they face and the possibility of having a cholera outbreak or a number of other diseases" Juzilan adds, "The people in the neighborhood worked with the WASH team every step of the way, they participated in the awareness sessions and we agreed on the importance of covering the slumps and picking up the trash off the streets. The people hired some equipment and they started working right away, on May 6th the slumps were gone along with the trash"
The WASH team succeeded in motivating the local community to improve the situation of their neighborhood; picking up trash and covering the slumps, which are the main reasons for diseases outbreaks.