Following U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's announcement on Tuesday of a new initiative appealing for $2.2 billion over 10 years to fight cholera in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, Al Jazeera reports "there are concerns by some diplomats and U.N. observers that the funds necessary for the program would not be forthcoming from donors." As part of the larger appeal covering the island of Hispaniola, in Haiti "[t]he new program dedicates $215 million from donors along with $23.5 million from U.N. funds towards programs in public health, capacity building, public education, and clean water systems," according to the news service. However, "Haiti will need $500 million over the next two years for its own national cholera plan," Al Jazeera writes, adding, "The funds allocated in the program would therefore cover only one year."
Jake Johnston of the Center for Economic and Policy Research said, "The humanitarian funding is already running out. ... What's to give anyone faith that these funds will come through?" Al Jazeera reports, adding, "U.N. diplomats [said] that the launch of the initiative is meant to reinvigorate the humanitarian effort to tackle cholera, and send a strong signal to donors." Nigel Fisher, deputy head of the U.N. mission in Haiti, said, "I'm confident that more resources will come," the news service writes. Also, "some U.N. observers fear that the plan will deflect international pressure on the U.N. to take responsibility for introducing the deadly disease," after "[n]umerous studies ... indicate that cholera was brought in by Nepalese peacekeeping troops," Al Jazeera notes (Moran, 12/12). In related news, the PBS NewsHour blog "The Rundown" reviews efforts to fight cholera in Haiti, including a vaccination campaign conducted this year (Wise, 12/12).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.