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State Department Fact Sheets Examine Cholera, Food Security, Health Progress In Haiti

The State Department has released a series of fact sheets examining the U.S. government’s two-year progress in Haiti. One fact sheet examines government efforts to “lessen the severity of the [cholera] outbreak” in Haiti. Another fact sheet looks at the challenges of food security in Haiti, stating, “Even before the January 12, 2010 earthquake, Haiti faced significant challenges to food security. … Prior to the earthquake, 40 percent of households were undernourished and 30 percent of children suffered from chronic malnutrition.” A fact sheet on health states that the U.S. government “has been providing access to health services for 50 percent of the people of Haiti for the last five years, including a basic package of health services (primarily maternal and child health) and more sophisticated HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment services.” Additional fact sheets on the government’s work in Haiti can be found on the State Department’s Haiti Special Coordinator website (12/28).

Haiti Experiencing Decline In Cholera Cases As Dry Season Begins

“Haiti has seen a steady decline in the number of cholera cases, as the Caribbean nation settles into its dry season, humanitarian groups said Tuesday,” the Associated Press reports, adding, “The seasonal decline in the number of cholera cases is consistent with the findings of a report released Tuesday by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.” According to the report, health officials are recording about 300 cases nationwide per day, compared with 500 cases one month ago, and the mortality rate has dropped or leveled in nearly all of Haiti’s 10 departments, the AP notes (Daniel, 12/20).

Government, Humanitarian Agencies Respond To Flooding In Philippines, Warn Of Disease Threat

“Philippine authorities are warning of the spread of diseases in cramped evacuation centers, days after flash floods hit the southern Philippines and claimed more than a thousand lives,” ABC/Asia Pacific News reports, noting that flooding also has affected the country’s northern provinces, displacing at least 50,000 people (Escalante, 12/20). Tropical Storm Washi “hit the main southern island of Mindanao over the weekend, bringing heavy rains, flash floods and overflowing rivers that swept whole coastal villages away,” forcing 44,000 people to evacuate the area, Agence France-Presse/Inquirer News writes (Celis, 12/21). Officials say hundreds of thousands of people are in need of humanitarian assistance, and the U.N. has stepped up its efforts in the area, the U.N. News Centre reports (12/20).

U.N. ‘Must Face Up’ To Haiti Cholera Outbreak

In this Guardian opinion piece, Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C., writes that the U.N. “must face up” to a cholera outbreak allegedly brought to Haiti by peacekeeping troops in the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake. “More than 500,000 have been infected, and the disease — which Haiti has not had in more than a century — is now endemic to the country and will be killing people there for many years to come,” he writes.

Cholera Education Campaign Launched In Somali Capital

Health ministry officials on Friday launched a cholera education campaign in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, “which aims to educate at least one person in every household on preventing the disease and what to do when symptoms occur,” Agence France-Presse reports. “The WHO’s Horn of Africa team said there had been…

BBC’s ‘Assignment’ Examines Cholera In Haiti

The BBC News audio program “Assignment” reports on the cholera epidemic in Haiti “and examines the controversy that surrounds it.” Correspondent Mark Doyle traces the alleged origin of the disease in Haiti, which had not recorded a case of the disease in about a century, discusses the U.N. report on the situation, and talks about how “families of cholera victims are now demanding compensation” (12/16).

TIME Examines Lawsuit Against U.N. Alleging Responsibility For Cholera Outbreak

“The question of who is responsible for Haiti’s cholera epidemic — the first that the Caribbean nation, the western hemisphere’s poorest, has seen in a century — has raised tempers since the first case was detected in October 2010,” TIME reports in an article examining a lawsuit filed against the U.N. claiming it is responsible for bringing the disease into the country and seeking damages for cholera victims and their families.

MSF Addresses Cameroon Cholera Epidemic

This post on Medecins Sans Frontiere’s (MSF) website describes the humanitarian organization’s activities in Cameroon to address a 14-month-long cholera epidemic. MSF has provided oral rehydration solution, water purifying capabilities, and medical aid and assistance in Cameroon, and the organization is “preparing the end of its emergency response, in collaboration with…

Balanced Approach Needed To Fight Cholera Outbreaks In Haiti

Jason Nickerson, a respiratory therapist and doctoral candidate in Population Health at the University of Ottawa, in this Global Health Hub post, recounts recent controversy surrounding “the health and humanitarian response to the earthquake and cholera outbreaks” in Haiti, noting tension “between the provision of [a cholera] vaccine as opposed to spending…

U.N. Appeals For $5.5M To Fight Cholera In DRC

The U.N. and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working to fight an outbreak of cholera that has infected more than 17,000 people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) need an additional $5.5 million to help their efforts, Elisabeth Byrs, a spokesperson for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said on Friday, the U.N. News Centre reports (11/18). “The U.N. says donations received will go toward improving water and sanitation and providing medical assistance for victims,” the VOA “Breaking News” blog writes (11/19). “This $5.5 million is really urgently needed because the rainy season is set to begin,” Byrs said, Agence France-Presse notes (11/19).