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UN backs Haiti’s anti-cholera vaccination campaign

Thursday, May 26, 2016

UNITED NATIONS (CMC) — Two United Nations (UN) agencies say they are supporting the Government of Haiti in a vaccination campaign against cholera that aims to reach 400,000 people during this year.

On Wednesday, the UN Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) said the Haitian Ministry of Public Health and Population is being supported by the Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO), as well as by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) .

The UN said the first phase of the campaign was launched on May 11 in the town of Arcahaie, about 30 minutes north of the capital city of Port-au-Prince.

That phase aims to provide two doses of oral vaccine to 118,000 people during May and June.

According to PAHO/WHO, the vaccine provides warranty protection ranging from three to five years.

A second phase of the vaccination campaign is planned for the second half of the year. To be successful, it said nearly 563,785 additional doses are required.

For both phases of the campaign, the UN said an initial budget of about US$3.6 million has been provided.

The UN said previous campaigns of vaccination against cholera reached 285,534 people — 102,250 in 2013 and 183,284 in 2014.

MINUSTAH stressed the importance, given the growth in the population, of increasing access to clean water and sanitation in exposed areas as key to eliminating the disease.

In the first quarter of 2016, MINUSTAH’s Civil Affairs programme approved or began work on 17 Quick Intervention Projects (QIPs), worth US$845,380, to prevent cholera and other water-borne diarrhoeal diseases.

The UN said this outlay represents more than 20 per cent of the total 2015-16 QIPs budget.

The 17 projects — seven approved, 10 already being implemented — are expected to reach over 220,000 beneficiaries in seven out of the 10 departments of the country, the UN said.

Of these, the UN said three projects, totalling $152,971, deal with renovations or extensions to health centres in the West Centre and Grande Anse, respectively; while 14 relate to the construction, renovation or extension of local drinking water systems.

The UN notes that the largest of these, in the Village Solidarité in the West Department, is expected to assure clean drinking water for 75,000 beneficiaries.