Nov 9, 2011 – Two medical aid groups in cholera-stricken Haiti are planning a pilot campaign to administer a cholera vaccine to about 1% of the population, but some public health experts are questioning whether the effort is the most cost-effective way to fight the disease, according to press reports.
Meanwhile, a Boston-based human-rights group is suing the United Nations on behalf of the families of the more than 5,000 Haitians who have died of the disease, according to an Associated Press (AP) report. The cholera epidemic, which began in the fall of 2010, is believed to have been started by waste from a camp housing UN soldiers from Nepal.
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Cholera has killed more than 6,500 Haitians and sickened nearly 500,000 since the epidemic began in October 2010, according to Haitian Health Ministry numbers cited by the AP.
The vaccination drive is being planned by Partners in Health, based in Boston, and the Gheskio Center, a nonprofit organization in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, that has historically focused on AIDS. The effort is expected to cost $870,000, which has not yet been secured, but it has the support of Haiti’s newly elected leaders, President Michel Martelly and Prime Minister Dr. Garry Conille, the AP reported.