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Fast Facts on the U.S. Government's Work in Haiti: Cholera

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Fact Sheet
Office of the Haiti Special Coordinator
October 22, 2012


The Challenge

On October 21, 2010, the Haitian Ministry of Health and Population (MSPP) confirmed cases of cholera for the first time in at least a century.

Accomplishments

At the request of the Government of Haiti, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)—already helping Haiti to build sustainable health systems to detect and combat the spread of communicable diseases in the aftermath of the devastating January 2010 earthquake—immediately began working with the MSPP and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to lessen the severity of the outbreak.

Through June 2012, the U.S. Government (USG) provided expertise and more than $95 million to prevent additional cholera cases and support the response by:

As of October 2012, Haiti has reported an estimated 598,207 cases of cholera and an estimated 7,551 deaths. Though deaths from cholera were high in the first few months of the epidemic, Haitian-led, internationally supported efforts have helped to significantly reduce fatality rates.

Challenges Ahead

Access to clean water and availability of sanitation systems are limited in Haiti, and cholera is likely to persist until access to adequate water and sanitation improves. The USG is committed to strengthening the Haitian healthcare system to contain future outbreaks and treat the Haitian people. In line with the MSPP’s desire to integrate cholera prevention and treatment into overall health programming, the USG is working more broadly on the prevention and treatment of all causes of diarrheal diseases. To reduce vulnerability to cholera and other diarrheal diseases, we are supporting the GOH and USG partners in improving access to treated drinking water at the community and household levels in urban and rural communities. In addition, the USG, in collaboration with PAHO, UNICEF, and the GOH, helped launch the Coalition on Water and Sanitation for the Elimination of Cholera on the island of Hispaniola. This initiative calls for major investments in safe water, sanitation, and hygiene, particularly in Haiti.

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