By Tiamiyu Arobani/United Nations
The General Assembly has welcomed the new UN approach to tackling cholera in Haiti, formally launched early December by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, calling on all Members States to provide the two-track plan their full support.
Adopting a consensus resolution on Friday, the General Assembly said it recognised the moral responsibility of the UN to the victims of the cholera epidemic in Haiti.
The Assembly called upon “all Member States, relevant UN bodies and other international governmental and non-governmental partners to provide their full support to the new UN approach.
“In particular to intensify their efforts to respond to and eliminate cholera and to address the suffering of its victims, including by providing material assistance and support to communities and those Haitians most directly affected by cholera”.
It noted that the approach would cost an estimated 400 million dollars over the next two years.
The approach, detailed in a report of the secretary-general entitled “A new approach to cholera in Haiti”, will centre on two different elements, known as ‘Track One’ and ‘Track Two’.
‘Track One’ consists of a greatly intensified and better-resourced effort to respond to and reduce the incidence of cholera.
This is through addressing Haiti’s short- and longer-term issues of water, sanitation and health systems and improved access to care and treatment.
‘Track Two’ of the approach is the development of a package of material assistance and support to those Haitians most directly affected by cholera.
It is centred on the victims and their families and communities, and it is expected that it will also involve affected individuals and communities in the development of the package.
Haiti has been dealing with a cholera outbreak since October 2010, some nine months after it suffered a devastating earthquake.
The outbreak has affected an estimated 788,000 people and claimed the lives of more than 9,000.
Concerted national and international efforts, backed by the UN, have resulted in a 90 per cent reduction in the number of suspected cases.
Briefing the Assembly on the new approach in early December, Ban apologised to the people of Haiti, expressing deep regret for the loss of life and suffering caused by the country’s cholera epidemic.
“The United Nations and its Member States have the power to recognise and respond to that suffering (cholera in Haiti0.
“Let us step up in solidarity to our moral duty and do the right thing for the Haitian people and our United Nations,” Ban had said.