PAHO/WHO to support Haiti with $500,000 for water and sanitation connections in health centers

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Funds will help improve care for cholera patients following departure of international NGOs

Washington, D.C., 5 March 2013 (PAHO/WHO) — The Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) will provide $500,000 from its technical cooperation resources to finance the installation of water and sanitation connections in primary healthcare centers in Haiti, under Haiti’s new National Plan for the Elimination of Cholera 2013-2022.

PAHO Director Carissa F. Etienne announced the new funding during Haiti’s official launch of the plan last week. The plan outlines $2.2 billion in investments in water and sanitation infrastructure, epidemiological and microbiological surveillance, health-care management, and health promotion and hygiene over the next 10 years. It budgets $485.9 million in investments over the next two years (2013-2015).

“This plan, when implemented, can and will finally halt cholera transmission in Haiti and ensure that any future introduction of the disease can be quickly controlled,” said Etienne. “But for the plan to be implemented, Haiti’s friends in the international community must align their efforts and harmonize around this plan and provide the necessary financial resources.”

PAHO/WHO’s contribution of $500,000 will support efforts to improve health care for cholera patients, a particularly urgent challenge due to the departure of many nongovernmental organizations and because of an increase in new cases in early 2013, following heavy rains from Hurricane Sandy. The number of specialized cholera treatment centers has declined 42% over the past year, and many remaining centers lack fundamental water and sanitation connections, which can contribute to the further spread of cholera.

Over the next two years, Haiti plans to expand the number of primary health-care centers from 241 to 500 by 2015, construct special areas within primary centers to treat acute diarrheal cases, and implement special norms and procedures for infection control.

Since the beginning of the cholera epidemic, PAHO has provided technical cooperation worth an estimated US$1.5 million and has received and spent some US$25.3 million from other sources to support cholera-related efforts in Haiti. In addition to the $500,000 announced this week, PAHO is allocating $2.3 million annually from its regular budget to support cholera elimination through technical cooperation in water and sanitation, alert and response, health systems improvements, and health and hygiene promotion.

In addition, PAHO serves as the secretariat of the Regional Coalition on Water and Sanitation to Eliminate Cholera Transmission in the Island of Hispaniola, which supports Haiti with technical expertise and resource mobilization. The coalition’s 18 members include the CDC, UNICEF, 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, WASH Advocates, and others.