“The death toll in Haiti’s cholera epidemic is approaching 8,000, and more than six percent of Haitians have had the disease since it invaded the country in October 2010, according to reports released this week,” CIDRAP reports. “In a January 7 cholera update [.pdf], the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said fatalities in Haiti…
“[E]ven when it is not covered in the news or noticed by the public, cholera occurs regularly in the developing world, and the annual number of cases reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) has increased over the past few years to more than half a million cases and 7,816…
“Few post-disaster myths have a stronger hold on our imaginations than the specter of a follow-on epidemic … But we can all take a deep, healthy breath: It’s not true,” Jonathan Katz, a journalist stationed in Haiti, writes in a PopSci opinion piece. “But myths have their price. And nowhere has…
“On the eve of the third anniversary of the earthquake that devastated Haiti in January 2010, the country remains in a fragile state,” a New York Times editorial states. “Billions of dollars in aid and lofty promises to ‘build back better’ have brought it only so far,” but “[a] recent article by Deborah Sontag of the Times showed, in disheartening detail, the distance between hope and reality,” the editorial continues, and recounts a number of challenges highlighted in the article, such as a slowing of flood aid and “the tendency of humanitarian aid organizations to go back to what they had been doing before the earthquake, in areas like sanitation, health, education and transportation.”
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon “has appointed renowned United States physician Paul Farmer to help galvanize support to eliminate cholera in Haiti, where the disease has already claimed over 7,750 lives,” the U.N. News Centre reports. “He will also be charged with advising ‘on lessons learned’ from the epidemic and ‘how those can be applied in Haiti and other settings,'” according to a U.N. statement, Agence France-Presse notes, adding, “Farmer, 53, heads Harvard’s department of global health and social medicine. From 2009 to 2012, he also served as deputy to the U.N. special envoy for Haiti under former U.S. President Bill Clinton” (12/29). “The naming of the Special Adviser for Community-Based Medicine and Lessons from Haiti comes just weeks after Mr. Ban launched a new initiative to help eliminate cholera in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, the two nations that make up the Caribbean island of Hispaniola,” the U.N. News Centre writes (12/28).
“Scientists say the cholera outbreak that struck more than 7,000 people in Guinea this year was caused by a more toxic and more contagious generation of the bacteria,” and they “suspect the same strain killed nearly 300 people and struck more than 22,000 others in neighboring Sierra Leone,” VOA News reports. “Through genetic sequencing of the cholera bacteria found in Guinea, epidemiologists working with the United Nations Children’s Fund [UNICEF] have identified them as atypical variants of the O1 El Tor strain,” the news service writes. Francois Bellet, a member of UNICEF’s regional office for West and Central Africa, “said this discovery raises the alert level, requiring stronger epidemiological surveillance, preparedness and response to cholera outbreaks in Guinea and throughout the region,” according to VOA (Palus, 12/20). “This type of strain was present in Zimbabwe in 2009, in the Lake Chad Basin in 2009, and is found in Haiti currently,” IRIN notes (12/18).
“Those following the two-year-old saga of the United Nations and cholera in Haiti were startled by” the U.N.’s announcement last week of a $2.2 billion initiative to help eliminate cholera in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, freelance journalist Jonathan Katz and Tom Murphy, editor of the development blog “A View From the Cave,” write in a Foreign Policy opinion piece. “Since [the crisis began in October 2010], scores of epidemiologists — including those appointed by the U.N. itself — have unearthed overwhelming evidence supporting the hypothesis that [U.N. peacekeepers] carried the disease and introduced it to Haiti through negligent sanitation,” they continue, adding, “In response, U.N. officials have ignored, dismissed, or mischaracterized it all.”
Some Diplomats, U.N. Observers Express ‘Concerns’ Over U.N. Appeal For Haitian Cholera Aid, Al Jazeera Reports
Following U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s announcement on Tuesday of a new initiative appealing for $2.2 billion over 10 years to fight cholera in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, Al Jazeera reports “there are concerns by some diplomats and U.N. observers that the funds necessary for the program would not be forthcoming from donors.” As part of the larger appeal covering the island of Hispaniola, in Haiti “[t]he new program dedicates $215 million from donors along with $23.5 million from U.N. funds towards programs in public health, capacity building, public education, and clean water systems,” according to the news service. However, “Haiti will need $500 million over the next two years for its own national cholera plan,” Al Jazeera writes, adding, “The funds allocated in the program would therefore cover only one year.”
“The United Nations [on Tuesday] announced a new initiative to help eliminate cholera in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, the two nations that make up the Caribbean island of Hispaniola,” the U.N. News Centre reports. “‘The new initiative will invest in prevention, treatment, and education — it will take a holistic approach to tackling the cholera challenge,’ said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the initiative’s launch,” according to the news service (12/11). “With the number of reported cases exceeding 620,000 since the epidemic started in October 2010, [Ban] acknowledged the ‘heavy toll’ as he launched the 10-year initiative,” Agence France-Presse writes.
“Haiti and the Dominican Republic will require $2.2 billion over the next 10 years for an ambitious plan to eliminate cholera, an official from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] said Wednesday,” the Associated Press/NewsOK reports. “The plan is due to be rolled out in a week or two and it outlines a government-led effort backed by the CDC, the Pan American Health Organization and UNICEF,” though it is “still unclear who will pay for what would be the biggest endeavor yet to develop Haiti’s barely existent water and sanitation system,” the news service writes (Daniel/Mendoza, 11/29).