Jean Petit Marseille, Coordinating Engineer in Central District for Haiti’s department of water and sanitation (DINEPA), believes so strongly in the work of his team that he calls them “foot soldiers” in the fight against cholera. On the ground, these troopers for community sanitation and drinking water are known as TEPAC (the French acronym for Techniciens en Eau Potable et en Assainissement pour les Communes).
But by either name, on any given day, when Mr. Marseille treks alongside TEPAC agents through the mountains of Haiti, a small crowd of community members usually starts to trail behind them, calling out to express their need for water purification tablets in their homes.
Hitting the trails in these rural areas is an essential aspect of investigating outbreaks and pinpointing sources of contamination in the country as it struggles to overcome the largest cholera outbreak of the century. In 2010, the year of the onset of the epidemic, Haiti reported more cholera cases than the entire continent of Africa, which is one thousand times the size of Haiti. via UNICEF