An American physician who has worked in some of the world’s biggest disaster zones flew in to Cape Town this week to help those left destitute by the Imizamo Yethu fire.
Dr Eduardo Dolhun, adjunct assistant clinical professor at the Stanford University Medical Centre in San Francisco, is the founder of oral rehydration solution (ORS) manufacturer DripDrop, which has business concerns in South Africa.
ORSs contain a precise ratio of salts, sugars and other ingredients, and are recognised by Doctors Without Borders and the World Health Organisation as one of the most important medical advances of the last century.
Dr Dolhun has previously given a TedX talk on the oral rehydration solution, and during the West African Ebola crisis in 2014 provided expert testimony to the international media.
“Since 2010, I have done relief work in a number of countries around the world, including Haiti, Pakistan and Ecuador. When I heard what had happened in Hout Bay, I picked up my baggage and head-
ed to the airport,” said Dr Dolhun, who brought a thousand sachets of the DripDrop solution to Hout
Within hours of his arrival in Cape Town, he was training women at Imizamo Yethu’s Yellow Hall on how to administer the solution to children.
“Obviously, there were many dehydrated children as a result of the fires. One of the great problems I’ve encountered with a lot of rehydration products is the poor taste, so kids don’t want to drink them. At first, the kids (in Hout Bay) only took a few sips, but they soon really enjoyed what they were drinking. Their bodies were pretty limp when they were brought in, but
they improved pretty quickly after that.”