A cholera patient in Haiti. PIH representatives recently traveled to Washington, DC, to update members of Congress on the epidemic.

On July 28, 2011, US Congressman Donald Payne, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health on the Committee for Foreign Affairs and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation convened an Emergency Haiti Cholera Summit on Capitol Hill. With cholera numbers in Haiti surging this past June, the roundtable discussion — including representatives from the US Congress and Partners In Health — discussed the new and renewed cholera interventions that need to be taken.

During the meeting, Dr. Louise Ivers, PIH's Senior Health and Policy Advisor, and Dr. Ralph Ternier, PIH’s Director of Community Health in Haiti, advocated for continued focus on the cholera epidemic in Haiti and described the extent of the problem in the areas where PIH works. Ivers said, “Attending this meeting is an important opportunity to directly inform Congressional members and others about the resurgence of cholera in Haiti. We’re thankful that Congressman Payne and the other Congressional members who attend today are so committed to continuing to support Haiti, even amidst the budget battles in Washington.”

Nine months after the outbreak began, the international community must now work with the Haitian government to address the second phase of the epidemic — curbing cholera deaths while laying the foundation for a broader nationwide health system that can handle future waves of the disease. Efforts must now place the bulk of resources directly with Haitian workers and infrastructures — in contrast with the first phase, which was carried out largely by foreign workers.

Representatives Payne (NJ), Jackson Lee (TX) Lee (CA), Waters (CA), Wilson (FL) attended the meeting as well as a staff member from NY Representative Clarke’s office.

Other attendees include officials from the State Department, USAID, CDC, Project MediShare, the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University.

The summit was held in the Rayburn House Office Building.

Learn more about PIH’s response to the cholera epidemic.