Ferndale, WA (Vocus) February 17, 2010
Port-au-Prince, Haiti (PRWEB) February 16, 2010 -- In anticipation of the dangers threatened by the upcoming rainy season in Haiti, after the devastating earthquake in January, Save the Children is providing broadcast-quality songs in Creole, along with public service messages, to radio stations to spread lifesaving health and nutrition advice.
The songs provide Haitian mothers with simple tips and hints about breastfeeding, feeding and hand washing to enable them to better protect their newborn babies and children against preventable diseases and malnutrition.
"The rainy season is approaching in Haiti. And we know that stagnant water and poor sanitation provide a fertile breeding ground for malaria and diarrhea, which are among the biggest killers of babies and young children," said Kathryn Bolles, Save the Children's director of emergency health and nutrition. "These diseases are easily preventable and treatable. So it is crucial for people in the camps to have access to accurate information in their language so they have the tools to protect their children.”
Radio Project Co-Produced Before the Earthquake
The project, a collaboration with the Ministry of Health and with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development, produced Creole songs and public service announcements before the earthquake, working with local communities and children. The songs will be aired on local radio stations and Creole services provided by international broadcasters.
"Few people have television or electricity, but they are accessing information by radio. Plus, music is natural entry point," said Bolles. "When people hear a song they like, they are likely to remember the tune and the message. This is an effective way to better save the life of newborns and babies. Action taken today could save a baby's life tomorrow."
Rainy Season Poses Increased Threats from Waterborne Diseases
The rainy season, which begins mid-to-late March, increases the threat of waterborne disease and of disease-spreading mosquitoes, especially in the crowded camps that have sprung up throughout Haiti's capital city since the recent quakes. Save the Children's mobile clinics and medical teams are already seeing cases of diarrhea, malaria and respiratory infections.
The organization's staff is monitoring illnesses in camps, assessing the status of pregnant women and vulnerable children, and pre-positioning specific medications and supplies in preparation for a possible spike in disease when the rains come. About 170 health workers -- including midwives and auxiliary nurses -- are working with communities to encourage exclusive breastfeeding and to provide hygiene, nutrition and other health information.
Save the Children also is working hard to improve sanitation and bring clean water to families in temporary encampments. It has recently scaled up the distribution of shelter items, with a plan to reach 70,000 families over the coming weeks. About 12,000 displaced children and adults now have access to latrines, water points and bathing areas installed by Save the Children.
To complement the health programs and as part of its ongoing livelihoods work, Save the Children is hiring laborers to help clear or dig drainage ditches in and near camps where it works.
Save the Children has been assisting children and families in Haiti for more than three decades. With about 350 staff on the ground in Haiti, the agency has reached nearly half a million people affected by the recent earthquakes.
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Learn more about our emergency response to the earthquake in Haiti.
Save the Children is the leading, independent organization that creates lasting change for children in need in the United States and around the world. Save the Children USA is a member of the International Save the Children Alliance, a global network of 29 independent Save the Children organizations working to ensure the well-being and protection of children in more than 120 countries. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
Eileen Burke, eburke(at)savechildren(dot)org (w) 203-221-4233 (c) 230-216-0718
Kate Conradt, kconradt(at)savechildren(dot)org (media VOIP line) 203-341-8221
Tanya Weinberg, tweinberg(at)savechildren(dot)org (media VOIP line) 203-341-8221
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