Improved water and sanitation infrastructure key to controlling Haiti cholera

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The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) says while Haiti has made significant progress in slowing the spread of cholera, controlling and eventually eliminating the disease will require major improvements in water and sanitation infrastructure.

Representatives from PAHO and its partner organizations in the Regional Coalition for Water and Sanitation to Eliminate Cholera from Hispaniola are urging stepped-up support for a “call to action” launched in 2012.

“World Water Day is an opportunity to highlight how critical water and sanitation are in the fight against cholera,” said PAHO Deputy Director Jon K. Andrus on Friday, designated by the United Nations as World Water Day.

“This was a key lesson learned in stopping the cholera epidemic that swept the Western Hemisphere in the 1990s,” he added.

During that time, Andrus said countries prioritized safe water and sanitation as fundamental to stopping cholera transmission while ensuring access to safe water as a basic human right.

“We want to go far beyond treating cholera patients. We want to stop the actual transmission of cholera in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and elsewhere, and to get there we need major improvements in water, sanitation and hygiene,” said John Oldfield, chief executive officer of WASH Advocates, a Washington-based non-profit, nonpartisan initiative dedicated to helping solve the global safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) challenge.


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