Threats of Disease Force Extra Caution

Considering that Haiti was one of the poorest counties in the Western Hemisphere before the earthquake, all involved knew that we had to take extra precautions to avoid disease in Haiti. Most went to medical facilities in the US specializing in foreign travel to get shots to prevent hepatitis, tetanus, and typhoid. We were then given preventative malaria regimens and also antibiotics to carry in case of GI disease. Missy Henricksen, PPMA Executive Director, coordinated all pre-trip efforts. It seems that each day had a new piece of information and of course, the information was usually a warning about disease. All in the group heeded advice and did what had to be done to prepare. It is hard to imagine that as we sit in our comfortable homes, there are others in our own Hemisphere who have no water, no sanitary facilities and have to worry about cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, malaria, and dengue. Even though malaria strikes less than 1,500 Americans each year (most after international trips), there have already been over a dozen cases of malaria in relief workers going to Haiti. And this is just the start of the rainy season. We also had to treat our clothing with permethrin and make sure that we carried DEET as well as pack long sleeve shirts and long pants. That will make some interesting topics for the videographers. So, why videographers? NPMA will not rest after this assessment trip. We will continue to help and the videographers will help document the situation so that we can show our industry what is needed as well as help us develop an action plan based upon video evidence. And that support is typical of NPMA members and will be vital for success in Haiti.

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