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

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions 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.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid