U.N. Admits Role In Haiti Cholera Outbreak That Has Killed Thousands | Source: NPR, Aug 18 2016 |
In the fall of 2010, months after a devastating earthquake struck Haiti, a new disaster began: a cholera outbreak that killed thousands of people and continues to sicken people across the country.
Cholera patients are treated at the Cholera Treatment Center in the Carrefour area of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in December 2014. The Caribbean country’s cholera outbreak started in 2010. Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images
Experts determined that the source of the disease was a U.N. peacekeeping camp. And now, nearly six years later, the United Nations has admitted it played some role in the deadly outbreak.
At a briefing Thursday, U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said that over the course of the past year, “the U.N. has become convinced that it needs to do much more regarding its own involvement in the initial outbreak and the suffering of those affected by cholera.”
He said the U.N. would announce new actions to address the issue within the next two months.
“Our legal position on this issue has not changed,” Haq said, adding that the U.N. was not describing any of its actions as “reparations.”
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Methane production for sanitation improvement in Haiti. Biomass and Bioenergy
Volume 91, August 2016, Pages 288–295.
Authors: Stephanie Lansing, Holly Bowen, et. al.
There is a great need for decentralized anaerobic digestion (AD) that utilizes wastewater for energy generation. The biochemical methane potential (BMP) of Haitian latrine waste was determined and compared to other waste streams, such as grey water, septage, and dairy manure.
Average methane (CH4) production for the latrine waste (13.6 ml ml−1 substrate) was 23 times greater than septage (0.58 ml ml−1 substrate), and 151 times greater than grey water (0.09 ml ml−1 substrate), illustrating the larger potential when waste is source separated using the decentralized sanitation and reuse (DESAR) concept for more appropriate treatment of each waste stream.
Using the BMP results, methane production based on various AD configurations was calculated, and compared with the full-scale field AD design.
Methane potential from the BMP testing was calculated as 0.006–0.017 m3 person−1 day−1 using the lowest and highest latrine BMP results, which was similar to the values from the full-scale system (0.011 m3 person−1 day−1), illustrating the ability of BMPs to be used to predict biogas production from sanitation digesters in a smaller-scale setting.
Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods (SOIL) and UNICEF are organising Haiti’s first ever National Sustainable Sanitation Conference. It will be held in Port-au-Prince on 12-13 June 2012.
The conference aims to share information about innovative waste treatment technologies such as composting toilets and bio-systems, among NGOs and the Haitian government.
- Overview of National Sanitation Strategy presented by DINEPA’s Sanitation Office (DA)
- Presentations of lessons learned from previous projects and ongoing sustainable sanitation projects in Haiti
- Ateliers focused on different components of sustainable sanitation
- Stakeholder feedback
- Open forum to discuss National Standards for Composting Toilets and Biogas
- Production of a public document summarizing the findings of the conference
SOIL, US-registered non profit, has been promoting ecological sanitation solutions in Haiti since 2006.
For the full announcement and more information go to: www.oursoil.org/national-sustainable-sanitation-conference
Factors determining the effectiveness of Oxfam’s public health promotion approach in Haiti, 2012.
Nadja Contzen, Hans-Joachim Mosler. Eawag.
In response to the devastating Earthquake of January 12th 2010 and the cholera outbreak of October of that same year Oxfam Great Britain, Oxfam Quebec and Intermón Oxfam conducted public health promotion and cholera response in Haiti. Different promotion activities were applied which aimed at changing hygiene behavior by changing perceptions and beliefs about healthy behaviors amongst people affected by crisis.
In February 2011 four Oxfam affiliates in Haiti in partnership with a team of behavior change researchers from Eawag launched the present research project to do an in-depth evaluation of the promotional activities that had been conducted with the goal of further improving the WASH situation for people in Haiti and worldwide by understanding how to make hygiene promotion more effective. The main focus of the research project was around the question which specific promotion activities were strongly associated with perceptions and beliefs about handwashing with soap and were thus capable of changing handwashing behavior at key times.
OXFAM – Hygiene promotion: determining what works, 2012. Humanitarian field studies | Cholera response in Haiti
When a massive earthquake struck Haiti in January 2010, followed by a cholera epidemic that broke out in October of that year, Oxfam rushed assistance—clean water, sanitation, and hygiene materials and information—to hard-hit areas to protect public health.
Hygiene promotion is arguably the most important intervention in a cholera epidemic: the route of cholera transmission is fecal-oral, and contaminated hands are often the principal vector. So Oxfam engages in a wide range of hygiene-promotion activities to encourage washing hands—specifically, washing hands with soap at key moments, such as before eating and after defecation.
But which of our interventions have been the most effective, and why? Is it more important to put resources into hygiene-themed theater productions or radio call-in shows? There is little hard evidence to suggest that—in Haiti or in emergencies anywhere—one hygiene-promotion activity works better than another. But lives, not to mention valuable resources, may depend on the answer, so in the spring of 2011, Oxfam engaged Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, to study the effectiveness of our hygiene-promotion activities in Haiti.
Twitter messages were providing data that would have been a quicker way of detecting and tracking the 2010 cholera outbreak in Haiti than traditional methods, according to a study  published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.
The study found that online social media and news feeds were faster than, and broadly as accurate as, the official records at detecting the start and early progress of the epidemic, which hit Haiti after the earthquake in January 2010 and has killed more than 6,500 people.
The authors used HealthMap, an automated surveillance platform, to measure the volume of news media generated during the first 100 days of the outbreak, and they also looked at the number of ‘cholera’ posts on Twitter.