Eveline Camille (“Madame Eveline”) has a long history of fighting disease in her own community. Before she became an employee of the safe water program, Eveline boiled water and sold it by the gallon, targeting mothers of young children and sick people. Partly because of this initiative in her home town of Jolivert in northwest Haiti, the local clinic hired her in 2003 to become part of the newly founded water program. At that time, the program served several hundred families who treated their water with Gadyen Dlo, a household water treatment system composed of a safe storage container and locally produced chlorine.
Eveline went on to become the Chief Technician for the program, a post she holds currently. Her responsibilities include training new families on how to use the system, recruiting and managing chlorine sales agents, conducting follow-up household visits, and promoting use of chlorine in her community. She also keeps extremely detailed reports on the dates each family purchases chlorine and the results of chlorine tests conducted in their homes.
The quantity and quality of data kept by Eveline has allowed numerous research teams from MIT and Emory University, including a study published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene that showed that users of chlorine had 59% reduced odds of having diarrhea than non-users. The research has also shown the importance of what Eveline does on a daily basis for the health of her community. (I like to say that the alternative phrasing for our finding that “households who received frequent household visits were significantly more likely to have positive chlorine residual at the time of an unannounced visit” is “Madame Eveline is awesome!” In other words, if Madame Eveline has been to your house recently, you treat your water; if she hasn’t, the odds go down).