Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

After Admission of Involvement, the UN Must Do More for Cholera Victims

Thanks to Dr. Louise Ivers of Partners in Health for this Letter to the Editor describing how the United Nations can do much more for Haiti’s cholera victims, and calling on the UN to do so. Now that, almost six years later, the UN has admitted involvement in the cholera outbreak, it is time for real action.


To make amends, the U.N. must provide funds to fight cholera in Haiti

Dr. Louise Ivers (Letter to the Editor), The Washington Post

August 26, 2016

Regarding the Aug. 19 editorial “The U.N. finally faces facts in Haiti”:

The United Nations conceded that it played a role in a devastating cholera epidemic in Haiti six years ago and admitted that it should do “much more.” Contrition was long overdue.

International experts reviewing the evidence (including a panel appointed by the United Nations) long ago concluded that the cholera outbreak was triggered by a lack of adequate sanitation at a U.N. peacekeeper’s base. In a country that is extremely vulnerable to disease outbreaks and that has limited capacity to respond to them, the introduction of cholera resulted in a major and ongoing disaster, with more than 10,000 deaths and 800,000 people sickened.

The U.N. can save lives, restore goodwill and stabilize the country by financing a plan to control cholera in Haiti. The Haitian government, international agencies and nongovernmental organizations, including Partners In Health, know how to eliminate cholera transmission in Haiti. Partners In Health supports an ambitious plan to interrupt and stop the spread of the disease using a combination of mass vaccination and household water treatment. If the U.N. follows words with financing, it will be taking very strong steps toward making amends to a country whose people it has harmed. We call on it to do just that.

Louise Ivers, Boston

The writer is a senior health and policy adviser with Partners In Health.


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