Dominican Republic and Haiti to fight cholera together

The Dominican Republic and Haiti agreed on April 28 to cooperate in fighting the cholera epidemic that has already killed thousands of Haitians and has spread across the border of the two countries.

Public health officials from the Caribbean nations reached several agreements, including the establishment of a permanent bilateral discussion mechanism to help monitor the movement of cholera, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and dengue fever outbreaks, according to

Bautista Rojas Gomez, the health minister for the Dominican Republic, announced that the two sides have also decided to articulate health initiatives that are to be developed by non-governmental organizations.

Since the beginning of the outbreak in October, 5,000 Haitians have died from exposure to cholera. The Dominican Republic has suffered twelve fatalities from the disease and a further 1,000 reported infections, reports.

In an effort to stop the disease from spreading further, the Dominican Republic has increased patrols along its borders and stepped up health checks.

The epidemic has raised tensions between the two countries after the Dominican Republic began deporting thousands of illegal Haitian immigrants across the border beginning in January, according to the Washington Times. The government in Santo Domingo has been accused of using the epidemic as a pretext for the crackdown.