A few simple rules to stop the spread of disease

Publicado: 10 octubre 2011 12:54 CET

"Cholera: the disease of dirty hands." This popular expression says much about the need for education in the battle against the spread of cholera. The Community Health team at the Chad Red Cross has set its sights on helping people avoid spreading the disease by promoting some simple rules of hygiene.

The team, which is composed of Ruth, Serge, Sabine and Abdallah working in the districts of Mongo and Bongor, has a clear goal: to take the hygiene message to 65,000 people and help them guard against the risk of cholera. Fortunately, they are not alone, as their mission involves training volunteers who will then go out into the community and intevene precisely where they’re needed. It is a chain of prevention in which the Red Cross of Chad will be deeply involved .

The first step is a two day training session during which the team of community health specialists provide information about cholera and epidemics in general, and also a range of teaching tools such as awareness materials and the key messages of hygiene promotion. Almost 300 volunteers, all from the Red Cross of Chad, will be trained in this way.

Next these volunteers go out into the streets, talking to households, but also in public spaces such as markets. The volunteers take a selection of educational tools with them and attempt to engage with individuals, hammering home the key messages clearly and effectively: “Remember to wash your hands before and after meals and especially after visiting the toilet.”

Sabine, who is a midwife and has three children, says that to be an effective hygiene promoter, a volunteer must be a good and sympathetic communicator. “You must have the ability to observe and listen, to analyze the problems of each person and adjust your speech, key messages, etc. so they are relevant and powerful," she says.