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IDB, Spain donate $20 million to Haiti to combat cholera

The Inter-American Development and the government of Spain will provide $20 million in emergency grants to help Haiti fight cholera, which has claimed more than 2,300 lives since late October.

The IDB approved a $15 million grant while the Spanish Cooperation Fund for Water and Sanitation in Latin America and the Caribbean will provide a $5 million grant for the program, which will be carried out by the Haitian Ministry of Public Health (MSPP), the Haitian water and sanitation regulating agency DINEPA and UNICEF.

The grants will enable the MSPP and its partners to establish and operate a network of 2,000 oral rehydration posts, 190 cholera treatment units and 10 cholera treatment centers in priority areas, such as the poor coastal neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince. Besides providing money for medical supplies and logistics, the program will fund mass communication campaigns on cholera prevention and treatment.

In addition, the MSPP will hire more specialists to build up its emergency response teams, as well as to strengthen its surveillance systems to track cholera cases around the country.

DINEPA will purchase chlorine, water purification tablets and soap to be distributed to communities and households. The agency will ensure clean water supply at cholera treatment unit and centers and the safe disposal of wastewater and excreta. DINEPA will also hire sanitary agents to monitor water quality and advise local governments on how to chlorinate their distribution networks.

In November the IDB and the Spanish Cooperation Fund financed a purchase by DINEPA of 90 million water purification tablets, enough to meet the drinking water needs of 2 million people for a month.

Separately, the IDB and the government of Spain are providing Haiti more than $250 million in grants to finance long-term investments to expand and improve water and sanitation in Port-au-Prince, five mid-size cities and rural communities.

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