22 March 2012

Response From PIH on Cholera Threat in Haiti

Ms. Dunn,

Thank you so much for your email and for your interest in Partners In Health. hope you’ll accept my sincerest apologies for the delay in response. The management of this account has been changing hands recently and your email was one of a handful that have been lost in the shuffle. Again, I am so sorry for not responding sooner.

Access to clean water is a basic human right and a prerequisite for health. Yet an estimated 1.1 billion people around the world – roughly four times the U.S. population – lack access to safe water. At any given time, almost half of all people living in developing countries are suffering from a health problem caused by lack of safe water and sanitation. According to Charity Water, a leading NGO in the fight for access to clean water and sanitation, diseases from unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war.

Water projects are one of the most effective ways of saving lives and one of the most cost-effective investments in disease prevention. Potable water projects typically reduce diarrheal disease by upwards of 50 percent, with even higher reductions during water-borne epidemics, such as cholera and typhoid. The WHO estimates that every $1 invested in water and sanitation yields between $3 and $34 in reduced medical costs and increased productivity, depending on the region. 

In 1985, PIH brought clean water to the village of Cange, Haiti by establishing a major hydraulic system. In one fell swoop this project eliminated child deaths caused by diarrhea in Cange. PIH has learned that while many of the challenges to improving health in Haiti would take decades to address, making clean water available can save and improve lives right away. During the past twenty-five years, we have worked hard to achieve this goal, constructing and repairing water and sanitation systems not just in Haiti, but Rwanda, Malawi, Lesotho and Chiapas, Mexico.

There are countless resources available for more information on our website under the Issues We Face section and elsewhere on the internet. Reliable sources include Water.org (http://water.org/), Charity Water (http://www.charitywater.org/), and the World Health Organization (http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/monitoring/jmp_report_7_10_lores.pdf).

For more information on the cholera epidemic going on in Haiti, please visit the links provided below:



Thank you for your continued support of Partners In Health and your commitment to the global health and social justice movement. I hope I have been helpful in answering your questions. Please feel free to email me if you have any other questions.

In solidarity,

Angie Sassi
Operations Team | Partners In Health | www.pih.org
888 Commonwealth Ave. 3rd Floor | Boston, MA | 02215                                                                                                                                      

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