Epidemics and Politics: Can Haiti Learn From History?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Haitian Ministry of Health body-collection team carries another body to their truck from a Doctors without Borders hospital as they dispose of bodies on November 17, 2010 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (Joe Raedle/Getty)

Demonstrators in Haiti have been protesting an outbreak of cholera, which has killed more than 1,000 people and has hospitalized more than 16,000 in the past month. The riots began on Monday in northern and central Haiti, over suspicions that U.N. peacekeepers had brought the epidemic to the country from Nepal. But protesters have also used the issue to make a political statement, burning campaign posters of Jude Celestin, the candidate of President Rene Preval's Unity Party – just ahead of national elections coming up on November 28th, 2010. 

Haiti correspondent Jacqueline Charles, from the Miami Herald, joins to update us on the situation in the country. She is joined by Philip Alcabes, professor of public health at Hunter College in New York and author of "Dread - How Fear and Fantasy Have Fueled Epidemics," who says that diseases turn into "epidemics" when they meet with social and political crisis.  


Philip Alcabes and Jacqueline Charles

Produced by:

Kateri A. Jochum

Comments [1]

Bronx Mom from Bronx

Alcabes was brilliant, as always. Disease is never about biology and statistics only. It's about social constructs that permit the spread of disease and that refuse systemic solutions. Thanks again.,

Nov. 19 2010 12:47 AM

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