Friday, January 22, 2010

Disease now the big threat in Haiti

From a friend at Global Action for Children...
A new threat is looming large in Haiti.

As if the immediate deaths from the earthquake were not enough, now the growing risk of infectious disease threatens to take more lives in Haiti. Infections like diarrhea, pneumonia and measles flourish in places with unsanitary conditions, lack of access to clean drinking water and increased exposure to the elements—places like Haiti today.

Tragically, it is the children of Haiti who are most seriously affected by these age old killers. Before the earthquake only 50 percent of Haitian children were vaccinated against these preventable diseases, so now in its aftermath, the likelihood of their emergence is even greater.

The good news is, we know how to stop more childhood killers than ever before. In this last year alone, two new vaccines were introduced to prevent deaths from the biggest child killers of all—diarrhea and pneumonia. Globally, these two diseases are responsible for over 3.5 million deaths each year.

Vaccines have both short- and long-term ramifications for children and their communities. Today, vaccines can avert thousands of needless child deaths during this time of crisis. And long into the future, vaccines will give Haiti’s children the chance to remain healthy, stay in school, live longer and contribute to their community. In short, vaccines are the smart start to help Haiti re-grow.

As the aid continues to roll into Haiti we cannot forget these killers that are lurking in the background waiting to emerge. We must ensure that everything is done to provide the children of Haiti with the medicines and vaccines they need to grow, thrive and rebuild their country.

Stacy Carkonen
National Field Director
Global Action for Children
(206) 715.4986

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Haiti: an advocacy action

Please read the following message from the ONE campaign to learn how your advocacy has a role in the recent Haitian crisis to try to drop the debt of Haiti and ease the burden of its struggling population.

Click here for "Drop Haitian Debt"
The harrowing images and stories coming out of Haiti are devastating to watch. The incredible outpouring of concern, aid and assistance coming from the United States and all over the world offers hope, but for many of us the question lingers: “What else can I do?”

One way we can help Haitians build a better tomorrow is to convince global creditors to cancel Haiti’s $890 million international debt. Doing so will help make sure that every possible future dollar goes towards rebuilding a stronger Haiti, not to servicing old debts.

Thankfully, the United States has already forgiven Haiti’s past debts and now only gives assistance in the form of grants. We need Haiti’s other creditors—the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, and countries like Taiwan and Venezuela—to follow our lead and do the same.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has the power to help make that happen. Please click the link below to join me and send Secretary Geithner this urgent message:

Drop the Haitian Debt!

As Haiti rebuilds from this disaster, please work to secure the immediate cancellation of Haiti’s $890 million debt and ensure that any emergency earthquake assistance is provided in the forms of grants, not debt-incurring loans.

Even before the earthquake hit, Haiti—the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere—faced tremendous challenges. But there was also hope. Recent years have brought a more stable government and tenuous gains in the fight against poverty.

Haiti needs an international effort to make sure that, as it begins the long road to recovery, it is not burdened with unpayable debts. We must also be vigilant that any new aid from the IMF and other sources doesn’t come in the form of loans that would create new debt for Haiti.

It all starts by calling on Secretary Geithner to use his influence to persuade international lending institutions and countries to do the right thing and drop Haiti’s debt.

Take action now:

Thank you,

Sheila Nix
U.S. Executive Director, ONE