Cholera in Haiti: An End in Sight
Throughout its history Haiti has faced many complex tragedies. that shook Since the outbreak in October 2010 in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that shook the country, cholera was added to the country’s already overloaded list of challenges.
Cholera has affected too many people and claimed too many lives in Haiti. While the country has made an impressive recovery in the last three years, the cholera epidemic continues to persist, stubbornly, despite the efforts of all those involved in this fight. We must face this enduring reality. With sincere regret for those who have perished and sympathy for their loved ones, we commit with determination to continue working alongside Haitians to end this epidemic. There is simply no other choice.
There is, however, hope. It is taking time but the fight against cholera is slowly being won. Haitian authorities and their partners know what needs to be done and joint efforts yealded notable results. The National Cholera elimination Plan of the Haitian Government sets a target of “zero deaths” from cholera by 2022. With sufficient resources and sustained efforts, we could reach this target earlier. We are determined to end this epidemic as soon as possible.
Engagement, partnership and the resources available to us is what we can offer. From the most remote mountains of the countryside to the displacement camps remaining in Port-au-Prince, we will keep on working hand-in-hand with communities, health agents, local and national au- thorities, and NGO partners to promote safe hygiene practices, respond rapidly to every alert, strengthen the capacity of health facilities to provide adequate care, and improve the overall sanitation conditions of the country to sustainably curtail the spread of the disease.
All this is no small endeavour. The scale and complexity of the challenges require a comprehensive approach that combines life-saving interventions with longer-term investments in health, water and sanitation systems. It demands the combined resources, energy and dedication of all the willing and mandated national and international actors to scale up efforts so that, in the not so distant future, Haitians can live free of cholera. Moreover, such a comprehensive and long term effort would go beyond the combat against cholera, and provide a solid basis for improvements in public health and water and sanitation that the country needs and deserves.
Peter de Clercq
Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Resident Coordinator, Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative