Guatemala: Cholera Control and Prevention, 1999

In 1999 CIET conducted a baseline survey to monitor a cholera control and prevention programme called “Health Kiosks” in Guatemala. These kiosks were located at four main highway intersections of the country where public and private transport discharge and pick up large numbers of passengers. Considerable quantities of food are sold to the passengers as they transfer from one vehicle to another at these intersections and there is ample opportunity for the spread of cholera. The kiosks were placed at these intersections in an effort to convey educational messages about the disease.

The survey covered all of the operators and handlers of fixed eating places as well as all ambulatory food sellers found at the four highway intersections. In total, 224 people were interviewed. Information was gathered on the management of food, water and ice, on garbage collection and disposal and on the availability and use of latrines. In addition to knowledge and practice on these matters, questions were asked about any training and/or information about cholera received, directly or through mass media.

The study provided valuable suggestions for adjusting cholera prevention and control activities. It led to the adaptation of the plan at local level and to the development of a more participatory educational process.

The survey was part of the “Project for Strengthening the Cholera Control and Prevention Plan”, of the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance of Guatemala. It was conducted under the coordination of Dr. Patricia Ruiz of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) and was funded by the Department for International Development of the Government of the United Kingdom (DFID).