U.N. must uphold 'moral obligations' in Haitian cholera epidemic

Noting the "aid group Doctors Without Borders said [on March 12] that the cholera crisis in Haiti was getting worse, for the most unnecessary and appalling of reasons: a lack of money and basic medical supplies," a New York Times editorial states, "The dreadful backdrop to this emergency is an abdication of responsibility by organizations that have pledged to help Haiti, particularly the United Nations." The editorial notes that, "despite overwhelming evidence that the U.N. introduced the disease" to the country," the international body "said last month that it would not pay financial compensation for the epidemic's victims, claiming immunity."

"Though the U.N. has done much good in Haiti since the 2010 earthquake, its handling of cholera is looking like a fiasco," the New York Times states, adding, "While it insists that it has no legal liability for cholera victims, it must not duck its moral obligations." According to the editorial, "That means mobilizing doctors and money to save lives now, and making sure the eradication plan gets all the money and support it needs." However, "[a] U.N. appeal last year for $24 million for cholera programs ended the year only 32 percent financed, and in December, the U.N. said it would contribute $23.5 million to the new 10-year plan -- about one percent of what is needed," the editorial adds (3/17).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis 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.


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