Media Center

Press Release

OAS Secretary General Participates in Presentation of the Campaign to Eradicate Cholera from the Island of Hispaniola

  June 29, 2012

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, participated today, as host, in the presentation in Washington, D.C. of the “Regional Coalition for Water and Sanitation to Eliminate Cholera in the Island of Hispaniola,” which comprises the countries of Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

“The implementation of this initiative to eradicate cholera from the Island of Hispaniola is an important step forward, not only to save the people of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, but also to help safeguard the health of the rest of the inhabitants of the Americas,” said Secretary General Insulza at the opening of the meeting, which was held at OAS headquarters.

The Coalition, led by the governments of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, was founded in January of this year, to mark the second anniversary of the earthquake that devastated Port-au-Prince in January 2010. It is made up of the World Health Organization (WHO) (and its regional bureau, the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO), the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and counts on the support of the OAS; the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB); the Government of Spain; the World Bank; the Caribbean Community (CARICOM); the National Health Foundation of Brazil (FUNASA); and the Inter-American Association of Sanitary and Environmental Engineering of Brazil (AIDIS).

Highlighting the importance of the Coalition’s objective, the head of the hemispheric organization said that “most of the Millennium’s Objectives were related to health.” In this regard, he recalled that during the Summit of the Americas held in April in Cartagena de Indias, a call was made for the political leaders of the Region to meet the health needs of the population of the Hemisphere.

The Haitian Health Minister, Florence Guillaume, highlighted that during 2012 the number of cholera patients in her country “has declined, but has remained at approximately 600 cases per day during the rainy season.”

Minister Guillaume said that to “successfully eliminate cholera in the long term, will require not only prompt treatment of cases, but access to safe drinking water, proper sanitation and health education”. The Haitian Minister noted that “today, we are seeing positive trends in Haiti” a fact aided by the fact that approximately “73% of the original population has now left Haiti ’s camps since the height of the crisis in 2010,” caused by the earthquake.

The OAS Assistant Secretary General, Ambassador Albert Ramdin, closed the meeting and said that “this commitment we have is for the Haitian people. I especially thank the PAHO for its long-standing cooperation with the OAS” on this and other issues.

Ambassador Ramdin expressed that “In the short and long term, education” is key to eliminate cholera”. He also pointed out that “political stability” in Haiti – a central issue for the OAS- is directly related with the sanitary situation. “If there are health problem, divisions arise, and we do not need that”.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

The video of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-239/12