Working and living in Haiti over the past year has made me realize a truism — the most common illnesses are indeed the most common. Although events, such as the current Ebola outbreak in Uganda, can be shocking, the heaviest costs on society still remain common illnesses, such as diarrhea, that arise from unfulfilled basic needs. We do not often refer to ourselves as a public health organization, but our WASH efforts, as all WASH efforts, are health efforts seeking to prevent rather than treat. The costs of providing safe water and sanitation to schoolchildren for ten years are dramatically lower than treatments for diarrhea, dysentery, cholera, and many other gastrointestinal diseases, simply financially speaking. This is not including the other more personal costs. In 2010, Haiti still had a children-under-five mortality rate of 16.5% — that is more than one in every ten children you meet here.
As we receive news of the recent cholera resurgence in Haiti and the statistic that half of all aid organizations in the Artibonite region have left, we are reminded of the importance of our work here in Mirebalais, where cholera had started in 2010. We were here before the epidemic began and we are still here today. Thank you for your continued support over the past years.