"Universal access to water and sanitation is a pillar of public health and is critical to defeating cholera and water-borne diseases," said Isabella Danel, Deputy Director of PAHO/WHO, which serves as secretariat for the Regional Coalition. "We believe access to water and sanitation is a basic human right, and we invite other organizations who agree to join and help Haiti and the Dominican Republic make that right a reality for their inhabitants."
Recall that since the beginning of the cholera epidemic in Haiti in 2010, more than 730,000 Haitians were contaminated by the disease and more than 8,700 have died. In the first two months of 2015, Haiti reported an average of more than 1,000 new cases each week (as of Feb. 21) http://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-13483-haiti-cholera-20-communes-on-red-alert.html . The Dominican Republic has reported more than 32,000 total cholera cases and 480 deaths since 2010.
With support from the Regional Coalition, the governments of Haiti and the Dominican Republic developed national plans to eliminate cholera through major improvements in safe water, sanitation, and hygiene and health system strengthening. Since 2012, coalition members and other international partners have helped Haiti make progress including :
- The construction and rehabilitation of drilled boreholes, shallow wells, spring and rainwater harvesting structures, and other water supply options
- The launch in 2014 of a "Total Sanitation Campaign" aimed at improving water and sanitation in priority communes
- Creation of a new performance monitoring system to track water quality and use, as well as finances in water and sanitation systems and facilities throughout the country
- Capacity building for water supply and sanitation committees, communal administrative councils, and communal water and sanitation technicians to improve service delivery and governance in the water sector
The Haitian government and its international partners acknowledge, however, that much more action and investments are needed to fully implement the national cholera elimination plan. That plan calls for an initial $310 million over three years ($2.2 billion over 10 years—to fund investments in water and sanitation infrastructure, improvements http://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-7388-haiti-health-ban-ki-moon-tuesday-launched-an-appeal-for-$22-billion.html ) in water safety surveillance and resource management, health education on hygiene for the population, and institutional capacity building at all levels.
"Haiti and its partners have made meaningful progress in water and sanitation, but defeating cholera will require a significant scale-up of these efforts," said Isabella Danel. "The work done so far by our Regional Coalition partners needs to become universal, and this will require new resources.
Learn more about the Regional Coalition :
The Regional Coalition for Water and Sanitation to Eliminate Cholera in Hispaniola provides technical expertise on cholera control and elimination to the governments of Haiti and the Dominican Republic and is working to mobilize resources for their national action plans to eliminate the disease by 2022. The coalition's 23 members include PAHO/WHO, UNICEF, CDC, the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), USAID, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), World Vision and the Millennium Water Alliance (MWA). PAHO/WHO serves as the coalition's secretariat.