News / Health

Health Officials Seek Support to Stamp Out Cholera in Haiti

Vidushi Sinha

Health officials in Haiti, the Dominican Republic and the United States are calling for international support to end the cholera epidemic that has killed thousands of people in Haiti since the devastating earthquake that struck the Caribbean nation two years ago.

There have been half a million cholera cases and 7,000 deaths in Haiti since the outbreak began in October 2010.  More than 200 new cases are being reported every day.  That's prompting public health officials to launch a campaign not just to control cholera but to eliminate it from Hispaniola, the Caribbean island that Haiti shares with the Dominican Republic. The continuing outbreak there is one of the worst cholera epidemics the world has seen in decades.

Health experts say that beyond life-saving interventions such as cholera clinics, chlorine pills and oral rehydration salts, there is a dire need to rebuild Haiti's infrastructure  -- especially water and sewer systems. Most remain in ruins from the earthquake two years ago.

Jordan Tappero is with the Global Diseases and Emergency Response team at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “After 15 months, the good news is that the international community efforts -- government of Haiti efforts -- to control mortality, to bring it below one percent, has been succeeded. We need to sustain those efforts. However to eliminate cholera, we are going to need a major investment in infrastructure for access to clean water and access to sanitation,” he said.

Haitian health officials say more than one million children under five die each year in Haiti from diarrheal diseases.

Haitian children learn in school how to stay healthy in a world where a careless sip of contaminated water can be fatal.

Sanjay Wijesekera is the director of water, sanitation and hygiene for UNICEF. “The answer isn't a single silver bullet. There are a range of measures that work // around infrastructure, around getting people to change certain behavior or adopt certain behaviors, and around clinics and case containment and the vaccine is also a potential new element,” he said.

Dr. Jon Andrus is the deputy director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). He says the traditional strategies of disease prevention and control such as hand washing, latrine use and other hygienic measures are all critical,but not enough to save millions of lives.

“If we continue with the current prevention and control strategies, we will still have 200 cases of cholera a day. We won’t eliminate it as we are trying to do with this initiative,” Andrus said.

He says the initiative's goal is to help Haiti and the Dominican Republic create a cholera-free Hispaniola. “It won’t happen today.  Could it happen in 8 to 10 years?  I think it can. I think we are all very, very optimistic that if the right thing is done ensuring safe water and sanitation as a basic human right to citizens of Haiti, it will get done,” Andrus said.

The World Bank estimates that it will cost more than $1 billion to build the infrastructure in Haiti that most of its people have never known.

You May Like

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs