World Bank approves grant to fight cholera in Haiti

The Board of Directors of the World Bank has approved a $15 million grant to help fight the cholera outbreak in Haiti, boosting the country's medical response and enhancing its ability to prevent future outbreaks.

The Cholera Emergency Response Grant will finance both non-public and public efforts to respond to emergency cholera needs at the department level, which will help to provide urgent care and treatment for affected populations and vulnerable groups. This includes improving hygiene and food handling awareness, strengthening Haiti's emergency response capacity and increasing technical assistance for the state's early warning response to outbreaks and other incidents.

"Haiti needs all the help it can get to respond to the deadly cholera epidemic which is ravaging parts of the country," Ronald Baudin, Haiti's Minister of Finance, said. "The continued support of the World Bank will be key for saving lives and re-establishing the public health service network."

Since the epidemic began in October of last year, there have been approximately 149,000 cases of cholera and over 3,000 deaths, according to recent United Nations data. The epidemic was especially devastating due to the earthquake that occurred on January 12, 2010, that left close to one million people homeless and living in camps.

"Key to the success of these efforts is the joint response to the emergency, involving not only agencies and NGOs but, especially, the Haitians themselves," Alexandre Abrantes, the World Bank Special Envoy to Haiti, said. "The new grant will be used to contract experienced NGOs for immediate cholera response activities and strengthen the capacity of the Government to respond to the epidemic."