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Guterres mulls new UN plan to fight against cholera in Haiti

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has asked all the 193 UN member states to inform him by March 6 if they intend to make voluntary financial contributions to the efforts to carry out a new UN plan to tackle cholera in Haiti, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said here Friday.

Antonio Manuel de Oliveira GuterresAntonio Manuel de Oliveira GuterresUnder the new approach, the United Nations is intensifying support to the Haitian government in building sound water, sanitation and health systems — the best long-term defence against cholera and other water-borne diseases, Dujarric said.

The world body is also developing a support package to provide material assistance and support to Haitians most directly affected by cholera.

“In his letter, the secretary-general says that the UN bears a moral responsibility for ensuring that the new approach is implemented,” the spokesman said.

Haiti has been dealing with a cholera outbreak since October 2010, some nine months after it suffered a devastating earthquake. The outbreak has affected an estimated 788,000 people and claimed the lives of more than 9,000.

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Concerted national and international efforts, backed by the United Nations, have resulted in a 90 percent reduction in the number of suspected cases.

While the number of those affected remains high, and recent outbreaks — partly heightened by the impact of Hurricane Matthew in October 2016 — show the continued vulnerability of the population to the disease, UN officials have said the challenge is not insurmountable.

Costing around 400 million U.S. dollars over the next two years, the proposed UN package under the new approach will center on two different elements, known as “Track One” and “Track Two.”

“Track One” is aimed at reducing incidence of cholera. It consists of a greatly intensified and better-resourced effort to respond to and reduce the incidence of cholera, through addressing Haiti’s short and longer-term issues of water, sanitation and health systems and improved access to care and treatment.

While “Track two” involves the development of a package of material assistance and support to those Haitians most directly affected by cholera and centered on the victims and their families and communities.

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Affected individuals and communities are expected to play a role in the development of the package. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

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