Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Thursday | November 29, 2012
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US$2.2b cholera intervention for Haiti, Dominican Republic
Former United States President Jimmy Carter (second right) and his wife, Rosalynn (right), visit a Habitat for Humanity project in Leogane, Haiti, on Monday. The former president and former first lady were both taking an active part in the construction of 100 one-room houses on about 14 acres which families will live in rent-free for five years and then pay a modest annual rent to the government. - AP

Haiti and the Dominican Republic will require US$2.2 billion over the next 10 years for an ambitious plan to eliminate cholera, an official from the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention said yesterday.

The plan is due to be rolled out in a week or two and it outlines a government-led effort backed by the CDC, the Pan-American Health Organization and UNICEF.

It's still unclear who will pay for what would be the biggest endeavour yet to develop Haiti's barely existent water and sanitation system.

"This is the greatest public-health intervention that could be imple-mented in Haiti, but it's a long-term strategy, it's not a fix tomorrow," said Dr Jordan Tappero, director of the Health Systems Reconstruction Office for the CDC's Centre for Global Health. "Our goal is to eliminate transmission of cholera."

Short-term goals include building water supply systems, sewer systems and waste-water treatment plants, as well as improving access to latrines, especially in schools.

The tattered state of Haiti's infrastructure has contributed to the flow of cholera since the disease was likely introduced in October 2010 by a unit of peacekeepers from Nepal, where cholera is endemic. The disease is easily preventable through proper hygiene but it has killed more than 7,600 people in Haiti and more than 420 in the neighbouring Dominican Republic, health officials say.

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