After the devastating earthquake in Haiti, Oxfam swung into action, building life-saving water points and toilets. This was accompanied by the distribution of hygiene kits to families made homeless.
In any major emergency, when people are displaced from their homes in large numbers clean water is essential for day-to-day life. Latrines are vital to ensuring the safe disposal of waste. And having the means to keep yourself clean not only helps to prevent the spread of disease, but it means that people can retain a degree of dignity. In Haiti, each household received one kit along with two pieces of plastic sheeting to help construct shelters.
Kits were put together prior to distribution by community members and Oxfam staff in suitable locations such as this school classroom in Ecole Louverture, Cote Plage in Carrefour.
Oxfam hygiene kits comprise of a bucket for carrying and storing water, a wash basin, a potty, sanitary towels and eight bars of soap. And these kits are an essential component of our public health promotion work in such situations.
Distribution of kits is accompanied by health and hygiene advice from Oxfam's health promoters, who explain the importance of hand washing and preventing contamination of water. After the distribution, a team of community health mobilisers will continue to deliver these messages, ensuring that risks related to poor hygiene are kept to a minimum, and so help prevent an emergency becoming a disaster.