FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

UNICEF helps tackle cholera in Haiti with sanitation campaign

UNICEF and the Haitian government launched a new campaign this week aimed at improving sanitation facilities in the country to combat the spread of cholera.

The National Sanitation Campaign will target 55 communities in the country, covering approximately 3.8 million people. The "community-led total sanitation" approach encourages leadership at the community level and has been used successfully in the past, according to a UNICEF press release.

Less than half of families in Haiti's rural areas have access to clean drinking water, compared to 77 percent of families in the country's urban regions, and only 25 percent have access to a proper latrine, increasing the risk of cholera and other diarrheal diseases.

As part of the campaign, the Canadian government will contribute $11 million over the next three years to reduce infant mortality and eliminate cholera. Japan will contribute $2.5 million to the country's efforts. UNICEF will provide water stations in communities at risk of a cholera outbreak and provide proper toilets for up to 90 percent of the population in areas where cholera is widespread.

"We can only defeat diarrheal diseases - including cholera - and improve the health of families when we address the root causes of the problem and offer sustainable solutions," Edouard Beigbeder, the UNICEF representative in Haiti, said. "That is why this campaign is of paramount importance, and the beginning of a new chapter in this common struggle."