Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Real UN Cholera Accountability and Ban Ki-moon’s Legacy

For years, the United Nations has hidden behind immunity to dodge accountability for bringing cholera to Haiti. After Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti and exacerbated the cholera problem, WHO/PAHO approved a request from the Haitian Ministry of Health for 1 million doses of cholera vaccine. Meanwhile, the UN continues to struggle to raise funds for its planned package of “material assistance and support” for the cholera victims. The UN and its Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon also have yet to apologize for causing the loss of so many lives and livelihoods through the epidemic. Will Ban finally do so in his last two months as Secretary-General or leave the cholera mess for the next Secretary-General, António Guterres, to clean up? Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. The UN in Haiti: an adulterated vision of accountability Editorial, The Lancet Global Health […]

UN Spokesperson Comments on Cholera in Haiti

Below is a partial transcript of the UN’s daily press briefing, in which a journalist from Al Jazeera English poses questions to UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq. Haq was questioned about Haiti’s current importance to the United Nations. In particular, he was asked about the intended $2.2 billion fund set up for Haiti cholera that is now less than 20% funded. He was also questioned about the UN Senior Coordinator in charge of the cholera response leaving his position. — Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General United Nations May 25, 2016 Question:  Farhan, if I can ask you for an update on what has become a bit of a forgotten crisis, if we go back over three years ago, the Secretary‑General announced that… with the Haitian Government they were going to set up a fund, […]

Vaccines vs. Systemic Change to Fight Haiti Cholera

Among public health officials and advocates, there is a heated debate on whether limited funds should be spent on vaccines against cholera or providing the water and sanitation infrastructure needed to stop the long-term spread of the disease. When United Nations peacekeepers first brought cholera to Haiti, public health officials proposed administering 100,000 doses of the vaccine to immediately save some lives but the Haitian government rejected the proposal. Now that cholera is still infecting Haitians more than five years later, researchers are adding new ideas to this ongoing debate. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. Everyone agrees we need to fight cholera. No one can agree on how Doug Struck, STAT December 7, 2015 he clinics were overwhelmed. Over just a few days in 2010, cholera had swept through the chaos of earthquake-ravaged Haiti. Violently […]

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 […]

Elections take headlines in Haiti, but Cholera issues deepen

Despite the recent tensions based on the elections in Haiti, cholera continues to ravage many.  A solution in the form of an oral vaccine can provide hope, but the vaccine’s manufacturer (Shantha Biotechnics, a Sanofi company) has decreased production in 2015 after promising to the do the opposite. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for full text. Ignoring the plight of the poor in Haiti Louise C. Ivers, Boston Globe November 19, 2015 As Haitians take to the streets to protest the results of their recent presidential election, a quieter but more deadly battle continues throughout the country against the world’s largest cholera outbreak. The toll is enormous, particularly for the poor. Although cholera is entirely preventable and completely treatable, five years after the disease appeared in Haiti for the first time in recorded history, 9,041 deaths have been […]

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