Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

IJDH’s Newest Board Member Discusses Justice at Mount Holyoke College

Joia Mukherjee, IJDH’s newest board member and a long-time collaborator delivered a powerful commencement address at Mt. Holyoke College in Massachusetts. The address is a must-read for anyone who cares about justice or healthcare, providing examples from Haiti, Kenya and more of how activism can change the world. Part of the transcript is below. Click HERE for the full text. Commencement Address 2016 May 15, 2016 Following is a transcript of the keynote speech by Joia Mukherjee, the chief medical officer for Partners In Health. Thank you, President Pasquerella, Chairperson Baumann. The faculty, the staff of Mount Holyoke College. And congratulations to my fellow honorary degree recipients. I am very delighted to be here with all of you. Most of all, congratulations to all of you, the class of 2016. [cheers] I am so proud to be one of your classmates! A […]

How UN Immunity Can Endanger Global Health

When unusual diseases like Ebola or cholera emerge, vaccines can be crucial but companies often worry about the risk of liability for adverse side effects. Organizations like the WHO and UN are protected against such liability but when they fail to live up to the obligations tied with their immunity, like the UN has done in the Haiti cholera case, that rightly increases people’s concerns and hesitation. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. The Ebola Vaccine, Iatrogenic Injuries, and Legal Liability Amir Attaran and Kumanan Wilson, PLoS Medicine December 1, 2015 Summary Points The development and eventual deployment of an Ebola vaccine was delayed for various technical and financial reasons, but with the apparent success of a vaccine candidate in a recently reported clinical trial, an urgent problem is the lack of any system to […]

UN Still Unaccountable for Cholera in Haiti

This article describes why the United Nations is responsible for the cholera epidemic in Haiti and what it has done to dodge said responsibility. This issue is especially interesting for New Zealand, whose former prime minister is one of the front-runners for Ban Ki-moon’s successor as Secretary General. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. Shaming The United Nations Gordon Campbell, Werewolf November 3, 2014 For all the global concern about Ebola, a more preventable disease outbreak – one that has racked up double the Ebola death toll – has gone by virtually unnoticed for the past four years, even though one of the world’s poorest countries has been its victim. Moreover, the cholera outbreak in Haiti was caused by the United Nations, which routinely likes to portray itself as a moral arbiter in world affairs. […]

Haiti’s Cholera Epidemic Comes to US Court

This article describes the cholera epidemic in Haiti, as well as the October 23 oral arguments on the question of UN immunity. It also compares the cholera epidemic to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, both of which are exacerbated (or even allowed) by poverty. Ebola is very difficult to combat but cholera is, fortunately, easy to fight and prevent. What would help most is the UN taking responsibility for the epidemic it caused and helping Haiti build the water and sanitation infrastructure it needs to be cholera-free. An excerpt is below. Click HERE for the full text. There’s an Epidemic on Trial in New York — But It’s Not Ebola Lauren Carasik, VICE News October 27, 2014 … The UN has declined to appear in court on its own behalf. Instead, Assistant US Attorney Ellen Blain argued that as both […]

The History and Future of Cholera in Haiti

This blog post describes the beginning of the cholera epidemic from one observer’s perspective. It also compares the initial lack of international response and local vulnerability to the disease to the ebola outbreak in West Africa. Part of the post is below. Click HERE for the full text. Cholera in Haiti, four years later H5N1 October 20, 2014 On the evening of October 20, 2010, I posted an item from Treyfish at Pandemic Information News: Haiti: A mysterious outbreak. Excerpt: Health officials in rural Haiti are investigating a possible disease outbreak that could be responsible for dozens of deaths and a surge in hospital patients, U.N. aid workers said Wednesday. Haitian government officials say at least 19 people have died after suffering brief bouts of fever, vomiting and severe diarrhea, with dozens of more deaths suspected. Most are reportedly children. Hundreds of patients reporting […]

Cholera and Ebola’s Root Cause: Poverty

This article compares two diseases that seem completely different, cholera and ebola. The epidemics in Haiti and West Africa can both be traced to poverty as a root cause. The lack of Western response is especially disheartening in Haiti, where cholera victims still have not seen reparations or improvement in water or sanitation systems four years after the UN first caused the epidemic. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. The Poor and the Sick: What Cholera and Ebola Have in Common Fran Quigley, Foreign Affairs October 19, 2014 The two deadliest outbreaks of this century can be traced to one thing: poverty. Cholera exploded in the Haitian countryside in October 2010, infecting more than 600,000 people and killing 8,600. Ebola surfaced this March in Guinea and has since spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone. As of […]

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