In October of 2010, less than ten months after being hit by a devastating earthquake, Haiti experienced a cholera epidemic that quickly spread throughout the small nation. The waterborne disease has now killed at least 7,050 Haitians and sickened over 531,000 others. Meanwhile, nearly half a million earthquake victims remain without adequate housing, and Haitians continue to face one of the most challenging clean water and sanitation situations in the world. As the rainy season sets in, the country is experiencing a notable increase in the number of deaths attributed to cholera, according to the UN.
This congressional briefing, co-sponsored by the Georgetown Law Center's O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law and CEPR, examines U.S. and international efforts to address what has become the world’s worst active cholera epidemic. Panelists discuss what urgent measures are needed to contain the spread of the disease, as well as longer-term proposals for preventing cholera from becoming endemic to Haiti. Finally, panelists consider the role of international legal mechanisms for protecting health and human rights violations in Haiti’s greater post-earthquake context.
The video below includes introductory remarks by U.S. Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) and concluding remarks by U.S. Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA). Participants included:
Dr. Luiz Augusto Galvão Manager, Sustainable Development & Environmental Health Area Pan-American Health Organization/World Health Organization
Donna Barry Director of Policy and Advocacy, Partners In Health
Brian Concannon, Jr. Director, Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti
Mario López-Garelli Senior Human Rights Specialist, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
Mark Weisbrot Co-Director, Center for Economic and Policy Research
Moderator: J.P. Shuster O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law