Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Plan Proposed for Eradicating Cholera from Haiti

Ever since the United Nations began a cholera epidemic in Haiti in 2010, it has been covering that fact up. Now that the UN has finally admitted its involvement, there are steps it can take to stamp out the disease during Haiti’s dry season, before the wet season exacerbates the problem and cholera can claim more lives. These steps have been drafted by one of the epidemiologists who took the lead on uncovering the source of the epidemic. Will the UN heed the advice?

Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.

What the UN must do to wipe out cholera in Haiti

Ralph R. Frerichs, Boston Globe

August 22, 2016

A child receives the second dose of the vaccine against cholera in Saut d'Eau, in the Central Plateau of Haiti, on 17 September 2014. The UN has launched its second phase of the vaccinationcampaign against cholera which was initiated and implemented by the Haitian authorities as part of the broader framework of the national plan for the elimination of cholera in the country. The campaign aims to vaccinate 200,000 people living in the communes where the disease persists in particular the department of Artibonite, Central and West. AFP PHOTO/Hector RETAMAL (Photo credit should read HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images)

IT IS NOT enough that the United Nations is finally beginning to acknowledge its involvement in the lethal cholera epidemic in Haiti. Now it must urgently do everything in its power to eliminate cholera in Haiti before thousands more die.

Cholera was brought to Haiti in October 2010 by UN peacekeepers from Nepal. Some of the Nepalese peacekeepers had been infected with the disease in their home country. And due to close quarters and poor sanitation practices, the disease quickly spread throughout the Nepalese camp near the interior town of Mirebalais.

Early on, some contaminated fecal waste from the Nepalese camp leaked into a nearby stream, infecting a few Haitians. Then the accumulated camp waste was dumped into the local river by a poorly supervised UN vendor. This local river flowed on to the mighty Artibonite River, which runs through the breadbasket of Haiti before emptying into the Caribbean Sea.

An explosive epidemic ensued in communities along the Artibonite, eventually killing 10,000 or more persons, with more still dying every month. The deaths in this one poor country are comparable in number to all the deaths attributed to the Ebola epidemic that erupted in several nations of West Africa in 2014.


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