Washington, D.C., 14 March 2013 (PAHO/WHO) — The Millennium Water Association today became the latest new member of the Regional Coalition for Water and Sanitation to Eliminate Cholera Transmission in the Island of Hispaniola. The nongovernmental organization signed a declaration that commits members of the coalition to work together to promote universal access to potable water and sanitation in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
The Millennium Water Association is a coalition of charities working to bring clean, safe drinking water and sanitation to developing nations in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Members include CARE, Catholic Relief Services, Food For the Hungry, Global Water, IRC - International Water and Sanitation Centre, Lifewater International, Living Water International, Pure Water for the World, WaterAid America, Water For People, Water Missions International, Water.org. and World Vision.
The association’s executive director, Rafael Callejas, met with PAHO’s deputy director, Jon Andrus, and representatives of other coalition members to exchange ideas on future cooperation to improve water and sanitation on the island.
Andrus said that improving water and sanitation infrastructure in Haiti is an urgent challenge that the coalition is seeking to address in the coming years. He also noted that ensuring medical care for cholera patients has recently become more challenging in Haiti because of the departure of many organizations that were providing such care.
Callejas praised the Regional Coalition’s long-term commitment and pledged his association’s support for its actions.
Nearly 650,000 people in Haiti have been sickened by cholera since 2010, and 8,000 have died. The disease’s spread has slowed since the beginning of the epidemic, when over 18,000 new cases on average were reported each week (2010). But Haiti continues to record new cases, on average more than 1,500 per week so far this year.
In June 2012, PAHO/WHO, UNICEF and the U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) joined with other organizations to create the Regional Coalition on Water and Sanitation to Eliminate Cholera Transmission in the Island of Hispaniola, to provide technical expertise and resource mobilization for cholera elimination. The coalition’s 18 members also include the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the World Bank, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, WASH Advocates, Partners in Health, Veolia Environment Foundation, Zanmi Lasante, Catholic Relief Services, Caribbean Waste Water Association, and now the Millennium Water Association. PAHO serves as the coalition’s secretariat.