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Cholera Prevention

In mid-December of 2007, MPT listened to a research report on Cholera in Iraq conducted by a young man, a member of MPT who had just finished high school, Laith Atta, 19. We learned some important facts from the report: that the outbreak of the disease had begun first in northern Iraq first, in the city of Sulimaniyah, through contaminated mineral water imported from Iran.

There are about 3000 inflicted cases and 60 death cases across the country, no single case reported in Najaf so far. Shortage of professional medical staff and medication in main hospitals caused this high number of infected people.

Laith educated us about how the disease breaks out, the scientific facts about the bacteria, and how to prevent the disease from happening through proper sanitation and personal hygiene.

MPT formed a Cholera-Prevention Committee to put together a comprehensive plan to launch a campaign quickly, visiting about 100 families, restaurants and food handling businesses in Najaf and surrounding areas, including the countryside. The purpose is to educate the targeted groups about the disease and its prevention. Ten Cholera-Prevention teams of 3 volunteers each were formed to demonstrate the process of proper sanitation using the following:

  • Bleach for water sterilization
  • Boiling water
  • Chloramine tablets
  • 3-compartment sinks (or 3 large deep plastic containers)
  • Illustrated pamphlets

In addition, there will be TV and radio ads, and training and demonstration visits to schools.

MPT contributed $1000 for the first stage of this project to meet the cost of purchasing the needed items. Our main goal is to visit 1000 families and food handling establishments over the next 2 months, if funding is available. An initial estimate of total funds needed for Najaf Cholera-Prevention Project is $20,000, or about $20 per household visit This includes the items mentioned above, plus food, drink and transportation for the teams.

The population of Najaf is about one million people.

 
 
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