On April 8, Jon Lascher, PIH’s Haiti Program Manager, updated viewers on Haiti’s cholera epidemic during a live interview on MSNBC’s The Melissa Harris-Perry Show:
Just months after a devastating earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, an outbreak of Cholera followed, claiming the lives of thousands. Haitian American blogger Alice Backer, former AP correspondent Jonathan Katz, and Jon Lascher from Partners In Health, join Melissa Harris-Perry in discussing the source of the epidemic and the potential dangers brought by the upcoming rainy season in Haiti.
Please take a minute to view the video here.
“If this was happening here in America, if this was our families in America, we wouldn’t stand for it,” said Lascher. “Cholera is still present… it has started raining already. We’ve had a period of time where cases started going down during the dry season and so we’ve had time to prepare…to do the right thing… But not enough has happened.”
During last year’s rainy season, the number of new cholera infections in Haiti tripled.
“It spread so quickly because people don’t have access to basic rights like water, sanitation, hygiene, and health care,” continued Lascher. “It needs to be a comprehensive approach to treating and preventing cholera so that we can make sure that there aren’t 7,000 more deaths this year. We need to make sure we’ve learned from past mistakes.”
As part of this comprehensive approach, PIH is working with the Haitian government and the Haitian NGO GHESKIO to launch a cholera vaccination campaign that will target 100,000 highly vulnerable people and prove that the two-dose vaccine can be delivered effectively in both a Port-au-Prince slum and an isolated, rural community.
Lascher concluded by saying, “We deserve to do better, Haitians deserve better.”
Since the outbreak began in October 2010, more than 7,000 people have died, and at least 531,000 Haitians – roughly 5 percent of the nation’s population – have become sick.
Lascher was joined on the program by Haitian American blogger Alice Backer and former AP correspondent Jonathan Katz.
Learn more about PIH's cholera efforts in Haiti.