WASHINGTON, May 27, 2015 – About 300,000 people from Haiti’s cholera-affected rural areas and small towns will benefit from increased access to clean water and sanitation as a result of a US$ 50 million grant from the International Development Association (IDA) approved today by the Board of Directors of the World Bank. The Sustainable Rural and Small Towns Water and Sanitation project aims to save lives by preventing cholera and waterborne diseases in high prevalence zones, and strengthen the capacity of local agencies to deliver water and sanitation services in rural areas and small towns.
Haiti has made progress in controlling the cholera epidemic since the 2010 outbreak, with reported case numbers decreasing from a monthly average of more than 30,000 in 2011 to about 2,200 cases per month in 2014. However, due to heavy rains, cases rose sharply in the first quarter of 2015, to a monthly average of 3,400 cases. While deaths from cholera and waterborne diseases declined last year and remain below one percent of cases, cholera resurgence remains a threat and water borne diseases are one of the leading causes of infant mortality in the country.
“We hear a lot in Haiti that ‘Water is life.’ With this project we have an opportunity to make this a reality for hundreds of thousands of Haitians,” said Benito Dumay, Director General of the National Water and Sanitation Directorate - DINEPA. “This project supports the Government’s 10-year Cholera Elimination Plan and aims to prevent thousands more Haitian children from dying from waterborne diseases”.
Today’s grant is part of an encompassing World Bank initiative which builds on the immediate emergency response after the outbreak in 2010 which benefited more than three million people through prevention education campaigns, training of community health workers and medical personnel, and direct treatment. It also complements cholera prevention and treatment efforts for US$ 20 million under an ongoing health project focused on epidemiological surveillance and treatment. The Bank is committed to mobilize donors and other partners to join forces in substantially improving water and sanitation coverage in Haiti, and strengthening health services.
“Despite much progress in Haiti’s fight on cholera, too many people are still getting sick, mainly because they don’t have access to clean water and sanitation systems. This is even more vital in rural areas where less than one in two Haitians have access to safe drinking water and only 16 percent have access to improved sanitation, said Mary Barton-Dock, World Bank Special Envoy. “By improving water and sanitation coverage in these targeted areas, we are not only saving lives, but also helping reduce poverty and improve livelihood opportunities of these communities”.
The new project will target priority communes with high cholera incidence rates in the dry season. It will reinforce and complement the activities carried out by other local and international partners in the country, and will have an impact across the Island of Hispaniola and on the border with the Dominican Republic, including bi-national markets.
Among the concrete results to be achieved are:
- 150,000 people will gain access to improved water sources through household connections and water kiosks;
- 50,000 people will benefit from improved sanitation through community-led sanitation campaigns, hygiene promotion, and construction of latrines in schools, health centers, markets and other public spaces;
- 100,000 people will benefit from small repairs and expansions;
- A roadmap for universal access to water and sanitation by 2030 will be developed.
- A regional surveillance system for pandemics will be designed with support from the Government of the Dominican Republic.
This six-year project will be implemented by the National Water and Sanitation Directorate (DINEPA) under the Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Communications (MTPTC). The World Bank is working closely with development partners including the Inter-American Development Bank, the Government of Spain, the Pan-American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
World Bank Group response to cholera
The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) has been financing cholera response activities since the outbreak in the end of 2010. It disbursed US$ 15 million as part of a cholera emergency response project, which closed in March 2014. More than three million people benefited from prevention education campaigns, training, and direct treatment through the project. Specifically, more than 5,400 community health workers and medical personnel were trained.
In addition to today’s US$ 50 million grant, the World Bank has made US$ 20 million available to the Ministry of Health for cholera prevention and treatment under a new health project (total US$ 90 million) for epidemiological surveillance, treatment, including rapid response mobile teams, hygiene and health promotion, and water and sanitation activities. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has also supported DLO Haiti, which is developing a network of water kiosks where water is purified and distributed to nearby communities at an affordable price.
In collaboration with the Government of Haiti, the UN and development partners, the World Bank also hosted an international round table to discuss best practices and lessons learned on combatting cholera, and a high profile conference in Washington D.C. to bring attention to the financing gap.
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