Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Matthew Reminds Us of UN Role in Haiti Cholera Epidemic

This story tracks cholera in Haiti, from when United Nations peacekeepers first brought the previously-unknown disease to Haiti in 2010 to the UN finally admitting involvement in the epidemic in 2016. When the epidemic first began, the UN tried to cover up its involvement and the World Health Organization helped by saying that the focus needed to be on stopping the disease rather than finding the origin. For years, the UN denied involvement and also dodged responsibility in court, using immunity against the lawsuit IJDH filed against it. Now that Hurricane Matthew has brought more water into Haiti, the risk of cholera spiking has increased. What will the UN do about it? The UN’s Role in the Devastating Cholera Epidemic in Haiti Gillian Mahoney, ABC News October 20, 2016 As Hurricane Matthew churned off the coast of Haiti earlier this month […]

How the Cholera Cover-Up in Haiti Resulted in Excessive Deaths

When an infectious disease first breaks out, identify the source is a crucial step in stemming the spread of the disease and helping those who are already affected. When cholera broke out in Haiti, however, experts like the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claimed that they could not or did not need to identify the source. This lead to a rapid and very deadly spread of cholera, which Haitians had no immunity to because it had never been experienced in Haiti’s history. Well-known epidemiologist Ralph Frerichs discusses his new book on the cover-up. Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text. The Story Behind The Outbreak Investigation Of Cholera In Haiti Officials Accused Of Covering Up The Source Of The Outbreak French Epidemiologist Anointed As “Modern Day John Snow” The […]

6 years later, cholera still killing many in Haiti

The Associated Press reports that cholera is still killing dozens of people every month in Haiti, six years after UN peacemakers brought the illness to the country after the 2010 earthquake. The World Health Organization is now considering cholera as “endemic” in Haiti, underlining the continuous presence of the preventable disease for the past six years. The article reports that “new research published by the U.S. Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention suggests cholera’s death toll in Haiti could have been significantly higher due to inadequate reporting early in the outbreak.” Click HERE for the original article. Cholera quietly still kills dozens a month in Haiti David McFadden, Associated Press March 3, 2016 PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — More than a dozen people reclined on cots inside the clinic in the Haitian capital, a few so sick they were receiving […]

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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