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Building Up Public Sector In Haiti Key To Controlling Cholera

The U.N.’s Pan-American Health Organization, the United States and the international community “should be working with the Haitian Health Ministry to wage a more aggressive and effective effort” against the cholera epidemic that hit the country last year, and those efforts “should include not only clean water and sanitation systems but more antibiotics and cholera vaccinations,” a New York Times editorial says. “Ramping up manufacturing” of the cholera vaccine — of which there are less than 400,000 doses worldwide — “could be readily done and would have global benefits,” the editorial states.

An August U.N. report (.pdf) “warned that money and manpower are running short … [and i]n many areas, nongovernmental health organizations are handing treatment facilities over to the Health Ministry, which lacks capacity to support them,” the editorial says, concluding, “The ministry, like practically every government agency, was flattened in the quake and has barely benefited from the flow of aid. Controlling this epidemic requires building up the public sector — which is the only hope for Haitians after charitable aid dries up” (9/6).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.