World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim on Thursday pledged US$50 million ahead of the “Haiti: Clean water, Improved sanitation, Better health” conference and called on donors and other partners to join forces and help improve access to safe water and sanitation for all Haitians to prevent waterborne diseases.
“We have made significant progress in controlling the cholera epidemic in Haiti, but too many people are still getting sick, mainly because they don’t have access to clean water and lack sanitation systems. Cholera remains endemic and water borne diseases are one of the leading causes of infant mortality in Haiti,” said Kim.
“Expanding coverage of safe water and sanitation is possible. We cannot ignore this opportunity to prevent thousands more Haitian children from dying from waterborne diseases,” he added.
The new US$ 50 million Bank pledge will contribute to the implementation of a project that will reach about two million people in cholera hot spots of rural Haiti. All schools and clinics in the communes covered by this initiative would receive priority water and sanitation services. Haiti’s Ministry of Health already implements US$ 90 million initiative financed by the World Bank which will provide access to adequate health services for 1.8 million mothers and children over the next 5 years.
Related: Yale researcher discusses Haiti cholera outbreak and link to UN peacekeepers
In Haiti, since the beginning of the epidemic (October 2010) and until June 2014, there have been 703,510 cholera cases, of which 393,912 were hospitalized (56 %) and 8,562 died.
Although the number of cases and deaths due to cholera has decreased significantly since the outbreak began, Haiti still averages 291 cases and one death each week in 2014.
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Related: Chikungunya, Cholera And Other Diseases In Haiti: An ‘On The Ground’ Perspective With Haitian Hearts, Dr. John Carroll