Haiti could stem cholera epidemic by end 2018 – health officials

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (Reuters) – Haiti could stem its seven-year-long cholera epidemic by the end of 2018 as the number of reported cases has dropped sharply, government and United Nations officials said.

The health ministry said Haiti has had about 7,400 suspected new cholera cases since the start of the year, compared with almost 20,200 at the same point last year.

“We have never seen so few cases,” Donald Francois, head of the health ministry’s national cholera program told Reuters in an interview. “With the cases we’ve seen we think we can eliminate cholera by the end of 2018.”

There were more than 18,600 cases in the first six months of 2015 and some 7,451 in the same period in 2014, according to health ministry figures.

An estimated 9,300 people have died and more than 800,000 have fallen ill from cholera since UN peacekeepers accidentally introduced the disease in 2010 when they dumped infected sewage into a river outside of Port-au-Prince.

A programme to provide residents with water purification tablets and efforts to find the source of new outbreaks has likely led to the decline in cases, said Marc Vincent, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) representative for Haiti.

A cholera vaccination drive in November targeting more than 800,000 people also probably boosted immunity, Vincent said.

Still, with funds to combat cholera slow to trickle in and Haiti needing vast improvements to its water and sanitation systems, the country remains vulnerable to new outbreaks.

About 40 percent of Haiti’s population are without daily access to clean water and less than one in four residents has regular use of a toilet, according to Pan-American Health Organization and World Bank figures.

“The number of reported cases can certainly decline dramatically and even fall to zero. Most likely, though, there will continue to be a low-level number of cases, maybe seasonally, maybe year-round,” said Ronald Waldman, a global health professor at George Washington University.

Waldman said Haiti could expect periodic spikes of cholera during natural disasters such as hurricanes.

Former UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon apologized in December for the handling of the outbreak and announced a $400-million trust fund to fight cholera and to rebuild communities struck by the illness.

But countries have been slow to contribute to the fund. So far, seven countries have given $2.67 million, nearly all of which has been spent, according to the United Nations.


TT$200 million fraud claim: State goes after Moonilal, ‘cartel’ contractors

(Trinidad Express) The State is soon to start legal action against former Government minister  Dr Roodal Moonilal over allegations of bid rigging with respect to some ten contracts through the Estate Management and Business Development Company (EMBD) in 2015.

T&T river crash victims identified

(Trinidad Express) Three men who died on Sunday when their car plunged into a river near the New Cut Channel in Woodland, have been identified.

Man charged with murder of 87-year-old grandfather

(Trinidad Express) The grandson of the elderly man found dead in a barrel at his home in Freeport on October 6, has been arrested and charged with the murder.

Time running out for NAFTA talks, set to be extended – sources

ARLINGTON, Va.,  (Reuters) – Negotiators at talks to modernize NAFTA are running out of time and look set to extend the remaining rounds in a bid to meet an end-year deadline as tensions rise, three sources familiar with the matter said yesterday.

Man shot dead in T&T for chain

(Trinidad Express) Deryck “Chicken” Hinds was shot and killed near Medine Street, San Fernando on Friday night.

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly.

We built stabroeknews.com using new technology. This makes our website faster, more feature rich and easier to use for 95% of our readers.
Unfortunately, your browser does not support some of these technologies. Click the button below and choose a modern browser to receive our intended user experience.

Update my browser now