Monday, November 08, 2010

A Simple Solution for Haiti’s Cholera Outbreak

A sugar and salt solution can save a child on the brink of death suffering from dehydration by severe diarrhea. This solution is called an oral rehydration solution and was discovered by United States-funded scientists in Pakistan in 1968 as a cheap treatment for severe diarrhea. And with the right proportions of salt and sugar, this oral rehydration solution can revive severely dehydrated people suffering from cholera. Remarkably, the solution is effective even when it must be mixed with dirty water. The effectiveness of this solution has also been remarkable. In South Asia, oral rehydration therapy has helped to reduce the fatality rate among those infected with cholera from 30% to less than 1% in just a few decades.

Haiti’s cholera outbreak is tragic especially since it could be so easily prevented and treated with oral rehydration solution packets. Thankfully, there are a few key organizations in Haiti that are distributing oral rehydration solution packets on the ground. Some of these organizations include: Save The Children, Partners in Health, and Doctors Without Borders.

Haiti’s cholera outbreak is a reminder that clean, safe drinking water needs to be universal and not just a privilege for people in developed countries. Please help support bringing clean water to millions of people around the world by getting behind the Water for the World Act. Call your congressional leaders and tell them to cosponsor this Act!

-Clare O.