The UN has administered cholera vaccines to Indian peacekeepers who arrived in Haiti without being vaccinated, with the world body saying it is the responsibility of the troop-contributing country to ensure their personnel meet all medical requirements for deployment.
“The UN Mission there (United Nations Stabilisation Mission in Haiti – MINUSTAH) says that all Formed Police Units who were not already vaccinated at the time of their arrival in the Mission have now been given the vaccine,” UN Secretary General’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told reporters at the daily briefing here yesterday.
He said that a second dose, for those who have not yet had it, is being administered or will be in the coming days.
The vaccine was administered to the 140-member police unit from India, which landed in Haiti in August last year. It had emerged that the troops had not been administered the cholera vaccine.
He said cholera vaccination is mandatory for all peacekeepers deploying to peacekeeping operations and “it is the responsibility of member states to ensure their personnel receives all mandatory vaccinations prior to deployment”.
In the event of troops being deployed to a mission area without the required vaccination, the supporting Mission takes measures to provide them and all costs incurred are deducted from the reimbursement to the troop and police contributing countries, Dujarric said.
Amid reports that the UN was investigating Indian peacekeepers deployed in Haiti without the mandatory cholera vaccination, Dujarric had earlier said that the world body wants more information from India on the issue.
On whether there has been communication between the UN and the Indian government over the matter, Dujarric had said “we are trying to get more information, obviously, from the Indian authorities”.
The UN has been part of massive effort to contain the disease in Haiti. The Indian soldiers had landed in Haiti in August last year and reportedly India had certified that they were administered the cholera vaccine.
Haiti has been dealing with a cholera outbreak since October 2010, some nine months after it suffered a devastating earthquake. The outbreak has affected an estimated 788,000 people and claimed the lives of more than 9,000.
Concerted national and international efforts, backed by the United Nations, have resulted in a 90 per cent reduction in the number of suspected cases.
Last year, then UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon had apologised to the people of Haiti for the world body’s role in failing to properly address the cholera epidemic. In addition, he had announced a $400 million two-track plan to stem the outbreak and provide long-term support for those affected.