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Haiti - Epidemic : The real culprits of the epidemic
11/11/2010 14:55:29

Haiti - Epidemic : The real culprits of the epidemic
Situation in the Artibonite and North West of the country and now in Port-au-Prince is extremely worrying. But beyond the necessary emergency response to these crises, the structural needs for water, sanitation and hygiene are the real culprits of the current epidemic and must be taken into account now in these areas and more generally in whole country.

According to a study carried out in 2008 per Action Contre la Faim (ACF) in each Haitian department, only 41% of Haitians have access to latrines in their homes and 51% access to water "described as safe."

In the Artibonite, these figures fall under one third of the population having access to a "water of quality" and an access to latrines. In most homes these latrines are not working. In rural areas the most vulnerable, less than 5% of the population has access to sanitation. Management systems and liquid waste are largely under-dimensioned in all the country.

Beyond the current emergency to prevent more deaths and contamination, so it is now putting in place sustainable systems and effective access to safe water and sanitation the only solution to prevent such outbreaks happen in Haiti.

Beyond the current urgency aiming to prevent more deaths and contamination, it is now time to put in place sustainable systems and effective access to safe water and sanitation, the only solution to prevent such outbreaks happen in Haiti.

"With the lack of water infrastructure and sanitation in Haiti, it was difficult to imagine that we would not face one day at a major epidemic," said Joia Mukherjee, medical director of Partners In Health (PIH), an NGO in Boston, who has worked for 20 years in Haiti and is present in the Artibonite.

In 2008, PIH and three other organizations have published a report on the lack of access to drinking water, chronic in Haiti. According to the report, this lack "is one of the biggest obstacles to Haiti, to meet the most basic standards of human rights. A historical legacy of inequality, an governance without authority or corrupt and persistent levels of extreme poverty have contributed to the intrinsic inability of successive Haitian governments, to provide drinking water to its population."

According to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and World Health Organization (WHO) Haiti is one of the few countries in the world where the coverage of sanitation needs of urban residents, has declined between 1990 and 2006.

According to Mukherjee, the development of a system drinking water and sanitation is the responsibility of government . Since the earthquake of January 2010, HSP concerned about the lack of funds received by the government " infrastructure can not be implemented by NGOs. It is important to help the government to get some funding entering the country, it is essential ".

According to Mukherjee, the development of a system of water supply and sanitation is the responsibility of government. Since the earthquake of January 2010, HSP concerned about the lack of funds received by the government " infrastructure can not be implemented by NGOs. It is important to help the government to get some funding entering the country, it is essential ".

PI/ HaïtiLibre

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