REPORT CARD FINDS THE MOST EFFECTIVE, NO-COST UN RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CHOLERA IN HAITI REMAIN UNIMPLEMENTED TWO YEARS LATER
BOSTON, MA — On the second anniversary of the UN report on the origins of cholera in Haiti, a Physicians for Haiti report card finds that the UN has not implemented the most effective, no-cost recommendations from their own report on the outbreak. The Final Report of the Independent Panel of Experts on the Cholera Outbreak in Haiti, commissioned by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, included 7 recommendations to prevent a repeat introduction in Haiti or elsewhere in the world, and to effectively respond to Haiti’s cholera epidemic. In May 2011, Mr. Ki-moon promised a “prompt” follow-up to the recommendations. However, two years later, most recommendations are not implemented.
For example, the UN medical screening protocols only test for cholera if there are symptoms, but most cholera carriers are asymptomatic. The UN report recommended providing all peacekeepers coming from areas with cholera with antibiotic prophylaxis. Because troop-contributing nations would bear this cost, implementing this recommendation would not cost the UN anything. The UN has still not changed their medical screening protocols. The attached Physicians for Haiti report card reviews each recommendation and explains in detail whether or not the UN has implemented it.
Starting in October 2010, the cholera epidemic in Haiti is ongoing. It has infected over 654,000 Haitians, killed over 8,000 Haitians, and spread across the Western hemisphere. Incidence has nearly doubled since last year. The mortality rate in some departments has increased to more than quadruple what is expected. The scientific community and UN report co-authors agree that the UN military mission in Haiti, MINUSTAH, is the most likely source of cholera in Haiti.
Physicians for Haiti (P4H) is a Boston- and Port-au-Prince based non-profit organization dedicated to promoting excellence in Haitian medical education and healthcare leadership. P4H provides didactic, technical, and clinical training for Haitian medical professionals and leadership training to Haitian medical workers committed to improving healthcare in Haiti. Additionally, they host the largest and longest-running medical education conference in Haiti.
P4H’s Advocacy Committee provides briefings to the UN and governments on water security and cholera in Haiti. Their technical expertise is used to form policies, revise protocols, and help secure the right to water.