The Haitian Prime Minister, the UN Special Representative to Haiti and the UN Senior Coordinator for cholera response vowed to press on with intensified efforts to eliminate the disease from the island as reports from the first months of 2014 reflected the lowest number of cases and cholera-related deaths since the beginning of the epidemic.
After the High-Level Committee for the Elimination of Cholera in Haiti met for the first time in Port-au-Prince yesterday to discuss efforts against the disease, from operational strategies to sensitization campaigns, Prime Minister Lamothe said that the Government’s activities and those of the UN and other partners to combat cholera are bearing fruit.
According to the latest figures from April, concerted Haitian and international efforts have succeeded in significantly reducing the toll of the epidemic. The number of cases has been reduced by 75 per cent in the first trimester of 2014 compared to the same period last year, and fatality rates are below the 1per cent target set by the UN World Health Organization (WHO).
In spite of that progress, the Prime Minister said cholera continued to be an emergency that required the development of all possible strategies to eliminate the disease in Haiti.
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Haiti, Sandra Honoré, emphasized the determination of the UN to continue to support the Haitian Government’s efforts to improve public health and access for the population to drinking water and sanitation.
Ms. Honoré referred to the upcoming launch of the total sanitation campaign which will allow schools and health centres in targeted communities to have adequate water and sanitation infrastructures.
The Committee members welcomed reciprocal commitments for the intensification of efforts in the fight to eliminate cholera in Haiti.
For the Government, Committee members led by Prime Minister Lamothe included the Minister of Public Health and Population, Dr. Florence Duperval Guillaume; the Minister of Finance and Economy, Marie Carmelle Jean-Marie, as well as the Minister for Human Rights and the Fight against Extreme Poverty, Rose Anne Auguste.
And for the United Nations, Sandra Honoré led the delegation that comprised of the Senior Coordinator for the Cholera Response in Haiti, Assistant Secretary-General Pedro Medrano, and representatives of UNICEF and the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization.
The Government of Haiti’s 10-year National Plan for the elimination of cholera requires $2.2 billion through large-scale development of public health and sanitation infrastructure.
To support the most urgent activities outlined in the Government's plan, the UN is appealing for some $70 million for the next two years to continue the short-term strategy of containing transmission of cholera, of which $34 million has been mobilized so far.
The UN Secretary-General's Senior Coordinator for the Cholera Response in Haiti, Pedro Medrano, continues to contact donors to obtain the resources needed to eradicate cholera in the country through universal water, sanitation and hygiene coverage.