Haiti: Committee for Elimination of Cholera Holds First Meeting

Above: MINUSTAH Chief Sandra Honore at the first meeting of the Committee (UN Photo/Igor Rugwiza)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

The newly-formed High-Level Committee for the Elimination of Cholera held its first-ever meeting this week in Haiti.

The meeting was attended by Haiti Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe and Sandra Honore, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General and head of the MINUSTAH peacekeeping force.

The committee was established by Lamothe and Ban Ki-moon to “to ensure that a strategy is applied for the elimination of cholera in Haiti, and [that] social and economic support is given to communities affected by cholera, while taking specific account of cholera-affected persons,” the UN said.

Following the meeting, Lamothe said joint efforts to combat cholera are “bearing fruits,” though he stressed that cholera “continues to be an emergency that requires the development of all possible strategies to eliminate the disease in Haiti.”

Most scientific studies on the subject point to the United Nations as the likely source of the cholera epidemic in the country, following what’s believed to be the introduction of cholera-infected waste into Haiti’s water by UN peacekeepers from Nepal. The UN has rejected efforts to seek compensation for its role in bringing cholera to Haiti, an epidemic that has killed more than 8,000 people in the Caribbean country.

In its first meeting, the High-Level Committee discussed its administrative procedures, the launch of a national sanitation campaign and a social communications campaign.

For her part, Honore said a new “total sanitation campaign” would “allow schools and health centers of targeted communities to have adequate water and sanitation infrastructures.”