UN announces Hispanola cholera initiative intergating oral cholera vaccine

The United Nations announced a new initiative valued at over US$2.2 billion over 10 years to help eliminate cholera in Haiti and the Dominican Republic (Hispaniola). Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon commented, “The new initiative will invest in prevention, treatment, and education – it will take a holistic approach to tackling the cholera challenge. The main focus is on the extension of clean drinking water and sanitation systems – but we are also determined to save lives now through the use of an oral cholera vaccine. Because global vaccines are in short supply, we will first target high-risk areas: densely populated urban areas and rural areas far removed from health services. As production increases, the vaccine effort will expand its reach.” Launched at UN Headquarters in New York in the presence of government officials from the two countries, the new initiative will support an existing campaign – known as the Initiative for the Elimination of Cholera in the Island of Hispaniola – established almost a year ago by the Presidents of Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

The UN chief said resources will be critical, with Haiti needing almost US$500 million over the next two years to carry out its national implementation plan for the disease. Noting that the relevant humanitarian appeals are less than half-funded, Mr. Ban said he will “use every opportunity” in the months ahead to mobilize more funding. “Today I am pleased to announce that $215 million in existing funds from bilateral and multilateral donors will be used to support the initiative. I thank the donor community for this generous commitment. The United Nations will do its part. We are committing $23.5 million, building on the $118 million the UN system has spent on the cholera response to date.”