BOSTON, MA – The United Nations failed to fulfill several of their own recommendations to address the cholera outbreak in Haiti and prevent future outbreaks, Physicians for Haiti (P4H) announced today. The findings appeared in “Protecting Peacekeepers & Their Public: A report card on UN implementation of their recommendations for cholera in Haiti.”
The report card refers to the two-year-old recommendations in the UN published, “Final Report of the Independent Panel of Experts on the Cholera Outbreak in Haiti.” Of the seven UN recommendations, P4H’s report card states that the UN has not implemented three and only partially implemented two others. Recommendations which have not been implemented focus on measures to prevent introduction of cholera to previously cholera-free regions. These include cholera screening and prophylaxis for United Nations personnel traveling to and from regions with cholera to areas that are cholera-free, as well as guidelines for treatment of fecal waste at UN camps.
The report card suggests that these three recommendations “would have prevented UN introduction of cholera into Haiti and would prevent similar introduction in the future,” and “All three recommendations could be implemented at either no or minimal cost to the UN.”
The May 4, 2011 UN report was commissioned in response to rumors surrounding the cholera outbreak in Haiti, which began in October 2010 following the UN response to the January 2010 Haitian earthquake. Since that time cholera has infected over 654,000 Haitians, killed 8,000 and begun to spread to other previously cholera-free regions of the western hemisphere. Since the report’s publication, multiple scientific studies have identified the UN as the most likely source of cholera in Haiti.
Dr. Rishi Rattan, Chair of Advocacy for Physicians for Haiti and author of the P4H report card noted, “The cholera outbreak in Haiti is a tragedy that cannot be undone but that does not mean the UN cannot prevent epidemics like this in the future. The United Nations owes it to the people of Haiti and the world to carry out the life-saving, low-cost recommendations they made for themselves two years ago.”
About Physicians for Haiti:
Physicians for Haiti (P4H) is a Boston- and Port-au-Prince based non-profit organization dedicated to promoting excellence in Haitian medical education and healthcare leadership. P4H provides didactic, technical, and clinical training for Haitian medical professionals and leadership training to Haitian medical workers committed to improving healthcare in Haiti. Additionally, they host the largest and longest-running national medical education conference in Haiti.
About Physicians for Haiti’s Advocacy Committee:
P4H’s Advocacy Committee provides briefings to the UN and governments on water security and cholera in Haiti. Their technical expertise is used to form policies, revise protocols, and help secure the right to water.
Media inquiries should be made to:
Advocacy Chair, Dr. Rishi Rattan, rrattan [at] physiciansforhaiti [dot] org
Chair of Outreach and Development, Wit Davis, wdavis [at] physiciansforhaiti [dot] org