Organizations fight cholera in Haiti and Dominican Republic

POSTED: 09/27/12 12:25 PM

St. Maarten – Minister of Public Health Cornelius de Weever says that the World Bank, Caricom, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and Wash Advocates, have become the newest members of a regional coalition on water and sanitation for the elimination of cholera on the Island of Hispanola (Haiti/Dominican Republic).

Representatives of the four organizations signed a declaration at the Pan American Health Organization and World Health Organization (Paho/WHO) recently where they pledged to work together with other coalition members to promote universal access to safe drinking water and sanitation as the key to eliminating cholera from Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

More than half a million people are estimated to have been sickened by cholera in Haiti between October 2010 and mid-September 2012, with more than 7,500 deaths.  The Dominican Republic has reported more than 21,000 cases and over 400 deaths from cholera.

In the 1990s, a cholera epidemic spread to over 20 countries in Latin America, but investments in water and sanitation infrastructure and health promotion helped stem the epidemic and contributed to the near elimination of cholera from Central and South America within eight years.

Even before the 2010 earthquake, only 69 percent of Haiti’s residents had access to safe drinking water, and access to sanitation had dropped from 26 per cent of the population in 1990 to 17 percent in 2010.

In the Dominican Republic, 86 percent of the population has access to improved drinking water sources, and 83 percent had access to improved sanitation in 2010.

The coalition was originally launched in June of this year to bring technical expertise, raise new funds, and mobilize previously committed pledges to support the governments of Haiti and the Dominican Republic in improving access to water and sanitation.

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