Rev. Thomas Streit, C.S.C., founder and principal investigator for the Notre Dame Haiti Program, recently published his reflections on the five-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti that occurred on Jan. 12, 2010. The reflection piece, “5 years on, hope for Haiti” was published on CNN.com on Monday, Jan. 12.
Fr. Streit discussed several of the challenges that Haiti continues to face post-earthquake and the progress that has been made in improving the lives of the Haitian population. He specifically focused on the improvements in the overall health status of Haiti with programs focused on distributing medication across the country to eliminate iodine deficiency and prevent the spread of parasites that cause disfiguring and disabling tropical diseases.
“A critical aspect of the success of these efforts has been the World Health Organization's use of local community leaders to organize, promote and distribute the drugs in their communities,” Fr. Streit explained. “Indeed, with some training, promotional materials and a deep knowledge of their communities, the leaders' success at engaging the participation of fellow villagers far surpassed expectations.”
Founded in 1993, the Notre Dame Haiti Program seeks to achieve the historic goal of eliminating Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) in Haiti through mass drug administration and the distribution of co-fortified salt. LF, a mosquito-borne disease, is the second leading cause of long-term disfigurement and disability worldwide.
The entire op-ed is available on CNN.com.