August 2011, Jake Johnston and Keane Bhatt
Cholera is both a preventable and easily cured disease, yet in July—nine months after it was inadvertently introduced into Haiti by UN troops—a Haitian was infected almost every minute, and 375 had died over the course of the month. In October 2010, the V. cholerae bacterium spread through a vulnerable population that had not been exposed to the pathogen in over a century. It has thus far afflicted 420,000 people and killed 6,000, making it the most catastrophic epidemic the hemisphere has seen in decades. This report looks at the reduction in cholera treatment initiatives prior to cholera’s recent, predictable upsurge, and argues that international financial institutions, NGOs, and donor countries should use more of their substantial resources, especially undisbursed or unspent funds that they have already pledged or committed to Haiti, to redouble their efforts to prevent unnecessary sickness and death.