U.N. Must Develop Policies To Protect Local Populations From Disease Importation By Peacekeepers
Foreign Affairs: Peace and Pestilence
Adam Houston, global health and human rights advocate
“…The Haitian cholera epidemic, which has resulted in more than 730,000 infections and 8,900 deaths since 2010, originated with U.N. peacekeepers. This tragedy serves as a warning, as yet largely unheeded, about preventing those sent to help vulnerable populations from becoming a vector for disease. … Existing guidelines on peacekeeping and disease focus on protecting peacekeepers from local diseases, overlooking the risks to locals from imported ones. … The U.N. has access to the expertise necessary to develop effective policy, and a structure that is well suited to its implementation. It also has a duty to ensure that peacekeepers protect the most vulnerable not only from war but from pestilence as well” (6/21).