Last October, following the UN General Assembly, we wrote of the urgency needed for the global health crisis occurring in Haiti. At that time, the former Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, admitted the role of the UN in starting the cholera epidemic in Haiti in 2010 and spoke directly about the need for a new strategy to aid the country. He said, “A new strategy is needed to alleviate their distress and improve their living conditions. We are firmly resolved to fulfill this moral responsibility.” he said, “Later, I will give you details on this strategy. Let us work together to meet our obligations to the Haitian people.” And, like a fool, I believed him.What I did not realize is that he was a magician with a card trick. He was talking about providing the details of the strategy instead of talking about the issue at hand – who is going to pay for it. An effective strategy has been crafted by experts in the field. It consists of 1) “rapid response” or the ability to detect outbreaks as soon as they happen by tracking each new case in the community 2) effective treatment of cholera patients, requiring sustained funding for nurses and clinics 3) vaccinating a subset of Haiti’s 10 million people (2.5 million) in strategic locations 4) resources to increase and maintain access to safe and clean drinking water, most urgently in urban areas such as Mirebelais, where outbreaks are more likely and more common.
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