Miss Witnie Uses Knowledge to Counter Cholera

Miss Witnie is a member of our community health team. She and her colleagues have been working tirelessly to ensure the communities we serve have the knowledge and tools they need to prevent cholera, identify its symptoms, and when to seek help.

For community health nurse Witnie Poteau, one of the best ways to prevent the spread of cholera is by simply having conversations with the people she serves. “We talk to people about the disease,” she says. “We raise their awareness… so they can understand what cholera is and how to protect themselves.”

We can break the chain of transmission, so other people are not infected.

Miss Witnie

A white 4x4 vehicle, handwashing banner in Haitian Creole hanging on the side, drives down a village street.

Miss Witnie and her colleagues conduct sensitization events using car caravans such as this. The banner reads “Handwashing: a simple gesture that saves lives. Let’s chase away the germs!” The car is outfitted with a speaker that delivers cholera prevention information while on the road.

Miss Witnie knows that knowledge can be empowering. When she shows community members how to purify water or teaches children how to wash their hands, she knows she’s giving people information they can easily integrate into their lives. “To me, the best way we can end this disease is for everyone to put what we tell them into practice,” she says.

This community-level work is not without its challenges. Miss Witnie and her colleagues must sometimes dispel misinformation, and recent countrywide supply shortages can make essential resources difficult to procure. But day by day, community by community, she knows her work is making an impact. “I am happy to work with the cholera team so that I can help stop [cholera] from spreading across the entire country,” she says. “We can break the chain of transmission.”