Regarding the Aug. 19 editorial “The U.N. finally faces facts in Haiti”:
The United Nations conceded that it played a role in a devastating cholera epidemic in Haiti six years ago and admitted that it should do “much more.” Contrition was long overdue.
International experts reviewing the evidence (including a panel appointed by the United Nations) long ago concluded that the cholera outbreak was triggered by a lack of adequate sanitation at a U.N. peacekeeper’s base. In a country that is extremely vulnerable to disease outbreaks and that has limited capacity to respond to them, the introduction of cholera resulted in a major and ongoing disaster, with more than 10,000 deaths and 800,000 people sickened.
The U.N. can save lives, restore goodwill and stabilize the country by financing a plan to control cholera in Haiti. The Haitian government, international agencies and nongovernmental organizations, including Partners In Health, know how to eliminate cholera transmission in Haiti. Partners In Health supports an ambitious plan to interrupt and stop the spread of the disease using a combination of mass vaccination and household water treatment. If the U.N. follows words with financing, it will be taking very strong steps toward making amends to a country whose people it has harmed. We call on it to do just that.
Louise Ivers, Boston
The writer is a senior health and policy adviser
with Partners In Health.