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Dynamic young team takes action with innovative new “STOP INDIFFERENCE and SHOW LOVE” campaign in Haiti


 

One year after

(New York) December 20, 2010

Amidst continuing political unrest, and a crippling cholera outbreak, Haiti has experienced no shortage of challenges in the recent months. With delays in the delivery of pledges and donor aid, mismanaged funds and alleged corruption, the efforts to “build back better” a nation de-habilitated and destroyed by a 7.0 earthquake  have been stymied.


Enter a dynamic team of young activists and artists who have come together to work with MOSCTHA, a locally based organization, to address these issues and dig deeper into the real situation in Haiti, one year after the earthquake. Titled “Stop Indifference. Show Love,” this innovative web-based project will take to the camps and streets of Haiti’s most affected areas to bring the survival stories from Haitians to the rest of the world.

“I saw a picture of Edison Suero, the director of MOSCTHA-USA, standing in front of a town that had been reduced to rubble by the earthquake,” says Caitlin Padgett, project co-director. “The picture was titled, 7 months later – nothing has changed. I started thinking about what the situation would be like one year later and about how important it was to hear directly from Haitians about their perspective on the situation, and I contacted MOSCTHA with the idea for this project.”

The project will launch on January 12, 2010, the one-year anniversary of the earthquake. Each day until Valentine’s Day, the web-based project will showcase stories of real people offering real insights and suggested solutions to their current situation. The project brings together a diverse team of young people with a shared desire to get informed, get involved, and ultimately to inspire others to do the same.

“I wanted to help make a difference. Mostly I shoot celebrities and models for magazines, and I want to use my talent to help people in need,” says New York-based celebrity photographer Aliya Naumoff, whose work has been featured in magazines such as Rolling Stone and Nylon. “By volunteering with the ‘Stop Indifference. Show Love.’ project I hope to contribute my 10 years of photography experience to foster awareness, acceptance and ultimately contribute to progress in Haiti.”

Owen Cook, an award winning young filmmaker and animator from the San Francisco Bay Area, who now lives in New York, wanted to contribute both his experience and ability to create great work with limited resources to the project. “I was also really interested in spending time in Haiti and finding stories that aren’t the ones that are most commonly told,” he elaborated.

MOSCTHA was one of the first organizations providing emergency and relief work on the ground after the earthquake hit. Building on their established infrastructure and relationships, with 50 Haitian-Dominican staff members and 125 volunteers working in Haiti, MOSCTHA has been able to reach more than 60 of the hardest hit areas, providing relief to more than 80,000 Haitians.

“I believe in the ‘Stop Indifference. Show Love.’ project for several reasons, however, most important among those is the fact that I have heard of no other project like it,” says Alison Désir, MOSCTHA-USA’s Director of Operations and project co-coordinator. “MOSCTHA will be speaking directly with people in Haiti and documenting their struggles, hopes, and solutions for a better Haiti.  Having worked in Haiti for several years prior to the earthquake, MOSCTHA is in the perfect position to do just that.”

Capitalizing on the closeness of Valentine’s Day, the project will feature one story a day from launch until February 14th. “This Valentine’s Day, we want people to take a minute, get informed and get involved, and do something that matters – hence the theme of ‘Stop Indifference. Show Love.’” says Padgett. “Supporters can dedicate e-cards to their loved ones while also spreading awareness and donating to a great organization and cause.”

“I feel extremely fortunate to be joining MOSCTHA as we work to launch our latest effort, ‘Stop Indifference. Show Love.’” says Jane Borock, who joins MOSCTHA’s team as Creative Director. “We've all read the articles by American journalists and have seen CNN reports from the ground, but what we haven't done is simply listen.”

The project launches at www.stopindifferenceshowlove.com on January 12th and will be updated daily. A SHOW LOVE Showcase event is planned in New York City on February 14th to feature a montage of the video documentaries and professional photographs taken during the project.

For more information, please contact Alison Désir: 201 218 7797

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MOSCTHA Broke the silence and gave a voice to the people of Haiti.     


On December 4, 2010, MOSCTHA-USA held its first fundraiser in NYC. MOSCTHA-USA was founded in 2009 in an effort to bring MOSCTHA’s work to the American public and widen the network and support base to impact change in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Over 150 people attended this event, including two special guests of honor: MOSCTHA founder, Dr. Joseph Cherubin, and Haiti’s Minister of Haitians Abroad, Mr. Edwin Paraison. MOSCTHA: BREAK THE SILENCE, as the event was called, served to do just that; break the silence surrounding the real situation on the ground in both Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The fundraiser featured a silent art auction, with works of art from local Haitian artisans, as well as a short program to introduce the work that MOSCTHA has been doing since the earthquake. MOSCTHA and MOSCTHA-USA thank everyone who attended the event and everyone who has donated their time and support to our cause over the past 25 years!


Silence aution

 




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On World AIDS Day MOSCTHA joins the fight

our mobile health care units which on a daily basis visit 33 communities across the Dominican RepublicOn this World AIDS Day 2010, MOSCTHA joins the fight to raise awareness and help stop the spread of HIV.  As part of MOSCTHA‚Äôs targeted program to address HIV/AIDS, we recently launched a new campaign to create awareness, promote responsible sexual behavior, and change unhealthy attitudes toward HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the communities of Anse a Pitre region in southeastern Haiti.

The communities of Anse-a-Pitre, Banane, Boucan Guillaime and Bois D‚Äôhomme are particularly difficult to access due to very poor road conditions.  These conditions have prevented many organizations from implementing development programs in the region resulting in a lack of information regarding sexual and reproductive health.  Field research and survey results indicate a significantly low level of knowledge about STIs and HIV/AIDS in the population, as well as, very little willingness to use effective contraception and disease protection.


Our approach will be to work with community leaders in order to:
-Promote understanding of the risks associated with the knowledge, attitude and behavior towards STIs and HIV / AIDS
-Encourage the use of contraceptives and disease protection methods available
-Select and train community health promoters to undertake community awareness and education activities related to STIs and HIV / AIDS.

Through this new program, MOSCTHA aims to reach out to educate a population of 4,000 - 6,000 people.  This effort is in addition to our mobile health care units which on a daily basis visit 33 communities across the Dominican Republic to provide access to contraceptive services, family planning, clinical care, sexual and reproductive health care, STD/HIV prevention and treatment, maternal and child healthcare, and the detection and treatment of cervical and breast cancer.

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MOSCTHA on the front-lines fighting the Cholera epidemic in Haiti

MOSCTHA is distributing signs all around Port Au Prince to teach Haitians about hygiene and sanitation to prevent Cholera. After the passing of hurricane Thomas, which left 21 dead and  9 unaccounted for and also destroyed thousands of houses and left more than 5,000 damaged, the country is more at risk then ever for a continued cholera outbreak, according to several specialists who have said that further spread is imminent.  According to official information, until today, Wednesday, November 11, cholera has cost the lives of 643 people and hospitalized more than 10,000.  Today alone, 46 have died in the department of Aritbonite where the first case of cholera was discovered.

It should be noted that the epidemic is already present in the Oeste department with 75 confirmed cases and another 100 suspected according to officials.  Port-au-Prince, home to countless numbers of encampments, each of which houses up to seven people living in extremely inhumane health conditions, is especially at risk.  There is a serious lack of potable drinking water and there is no real sanitation system to avoid the further spread of the cholera outbreak.  It is entirely possible that the current situation could become worse than what is already occurring in the department of Aritbonite.

In an effort to improve the living conditions of those most vulnerable, MOSCTHA-HAITI, has been on the forefront of the campaign to help curb the epidemic in 10 encampments in the capital, the 3 in Leogane, the 4 in Grand Goaves, the 3 in Petit-Goaves, and Lester in the department of Artibonite.  We have been distributing educational materials, such as: flyers, brochures, flipcharts to be used by local health promoters to capacitate the public, and Pur water tablets do purify drinking water.  We have been educating illMOSCTHA distribute clean drinking water and teach Haitians tecniques of how to keep the water safe.iterate citizens with physical teaching methods based on the information contained in the flyers and brochures.  We have also been capacitating local school children so that they can later teach their family members how to prevent cholera.         

Moreover, since yesterday classes have been suspended in Gona√Øves, which is a province within the department of the Aritbonite, for fear that the children will be infected by the epidemic.  It is not known how long classes will be suspended.  In Port-au-Prince, there is already a high level of fear on the same issue, and many parents are thinking of not sending their children to school to receive their daily free meal.

In addition to the information that we are delivering to the population in the encampments and local communities, we are also preparing inter-institutional workshops with the hope of capacitating promoters from other institutions that are working in localities where we have no presence.  This will allow us to educate more people on how to protect themselves against cholera in order to prevent the disease from spreading.


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Medical aid and raising awareness for the prevention of cholera in Haiti

A dangerous and expanding cholera outbreak in the department of Artibonite has turned into an epidemic.  In order to aid those both infected and non-infected, MOSCTHA-HAITI has dispatched a medical team to Artibonite with the hope of curing those infected and preventing further spreading to other parts of the country.  We also made a visit to one of the hospitals (St Nicholas) with the largest number of infected patients, 2,500 of the 4,300 infected according to official reports.  For this reason we have focused our efforts around this hospital by handing out such medicines as: oral rehydration formulas, clean syringes, aspirin, PUR water treatment tablets, and other supplies.

We have also been in contact with doctors at the hospital about how the outbreak began.  According to them, in early October patients began to arrive with symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea and they were not aware that it was due to cholera.  Only on October 12 when a large amount of infected patients sought care did they begin to draw samples to analyze what was occurring.  Once tested, the samples came back positive for cholera and public health officials were quickly alerted.

According to Dr. Colin, the cases did not originate from the city of Saint-Marck, but instead far-off communities where people live close to the river and do not have access to potable water or information on how to use the water that comes from the north river.  Moreover, he informed us that with the help of organizations working to stem the outbreak, they have been able to better control the outbreak in the center.

With the information at hand given to us by Dr. Colin, we went to one of the far-off communities named Lester where people live close to the river and use the water to clean and drink.  Upon our arrival we carried out a workshop on safely treating water with Pur tablets and taught local citizens how to properly wash local fruits and vegetables.  We have been very well received and were asked to return with more Pur tablets.

In our opinion, we believe both far-off communities like Artibonite and main communities like Saint-Marck and Port-au-Prince need a prevention campaign on cholera.  Even though medical officials assure us that none of the cases originated in Saint-Marck, we still believe that the entire population has to be sensitized on the risks and symptoms of the disease since there is still a serious lack of knowledge on the epidemic.

Hospitals (St Nicholas)

Hospital St Nicholas with the largest number of infected patients of Cholera

MOSCTHA visits the community of Lester

MOSCTHA visits the community of Lester, where we carried out a workshop on how to safely drink water


Cholera outbreak in Haiti

A cholera outbreak which apparently started in the department of Artibonito, in central Haiti, has caused, to date, approximately 253 deaths and more than 3,000 hospitalizations.  This epidemic appears to be rapidly expanding and has started to emerge in encampments near Port-au-Prince (the community of Archahie is only about 23 miles from the capital), which has generated a high level of concern among those who are still residing in the encampments since January 12, 2010.

Official reports have recognized five cases that have been detected north of the capital in the outskirts.  Moreover, reports from social workers in the border region of Jiman√≠ identify cases en the area of Croix-Des Bouquet which only further confirms that the situation is becoming increasingly volatile. 

Our perspective to this day, October 25, 2010, is that the situation is ripe for a rapid spreading of the cholera epidemic to Port-au-Prince, due to the precarious living conditions in the encampments that still exist in the Haitian capital.  Our main concern is the lack of proper sanitation and hygiene that exist in these settlements as well as the lack of clean food and water will serve as an accelerant and only worsen the current situation. 

As of right now what we believe is most important is adequately sensitizing the Haitian population through the distribution of educational materials with the end goal of improving basic hygiene in order to reduce the likelihood of a massive epidemic.  We also feel that it is urgent to inform people, as specifically as possible, on the classic symptoms of the disease which will allows the population to become more prepared to seek immediate medical attention if they become ill.

Furthermore, we believe it is pertinent to carry out a day of clean water distribution, products to sterilize water, personal hygiene products, and products to sanitize collective living environments, bathrooms, kitchens, etc. and carry out medical projects in the encampments through the use of our mobile clinic.  We also plan on activating the community committees with which we have worked during the entire emergency period, taking advantage of their experience in order to adequately keep the populations in various encampments informed. 

Unfortunately, a new national emergency situation has been generated with the appearance of this cholera outbreak, which could generate a massive need for health interventions, as well as the provision of potable water, medications, and other necessities that could reduce the impact of the current outbreak.  However, we plan on doing everything within our power to avoid this from occurring.

cholera Cholera

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