Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Barriers to Haiti’s Cholera Elimination Plan

One reason the cholera epidemic brought to Haiti by UN troops proliferated so rapidly is that Haiti has poor water and sanitation infrastructure. There is a national plan in place to rectify this but so far, it has not been very successful. This paper analyzes the barriers to that plan’s success, particularly in the most impoverished areas of Haiti.

The abstract is below. Click HERE for the full paper.

Haiti’s progress in achieving its 10-year plan to eliminate cholera: hidden sickness cannot be cured

Vicki Koski-Karrell, Paul Farmer, Louise Ivers, Paul Namphy and others, Dove Press

May 24, 2016

Since the beginning of the cholera epidemic in Haiti 5 years ago, the prevalence of this deadly water-borne disease has fallen far below the initial rates registered during its explosive outset. However, cholera continues to cause extensive suffering and needless deaths across the country, particularly among the poor. The urgent need to eliminate transmission of cholera persists: compared to the same period in 2014, the first 4 months of 2015 saw three times the number of cholera cases. Drawing upon epidemiology, clinical work (and clinical knowledge), policy, ecology, and political economy, and informed by ethnographic data collected in a rural area of Haiti called Bocozel, this paper evaluates the progress of the nation’s 10-year Plan for the Elimination of Cholera. Bocozel is a rice-producing region where most people live in extreme poverty. The irrigation network is decrepit, the land is prone to environmental shocks, fertilizer is not affordable, and the government’s capacity to assist farmers is undermined by resource constraints. When peasants do have rice to sell, the price of domestically grown rice is twice that of US-imported rice. Canal water is not only used to irrigate thousands of acres of rice paddies and sustain livestock, but also to bathe, wash, and play, while water from wells, hand pumps, and the river is used for drinking, cooking, and bathing. Only one out of the three government-sponsored water treatment stations in the research area is still functional and utilized by those who can afford it. Latrines are scarce and often shared by up to 30 people; open defecation remains common. Structural vulnerabilities cut across all sectors – not just water, sanitation, health care, and education, but agriculture, environment, (global and local) commerce, transportation, and governance as well. These are among the hidden sicknesses that impede Haiti and its partners’ capacity to eliminate cholera.


Click HERE for the full paper.

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