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Haiti Cholera Counter
We created this counter in order to educate the public about the ongoing cholera crisis in Haiti.
Prior to October 2010, there had not been a reported incident of cholera in Haiti in over a century. Since then, over 500,000 cases have been reported, including 7,000 deaths. Scientific evidence strongly suggests that UN troops from Nepal, which was suffering from an outbreak of the disease at the time, carried cholera with them to their assignment in Haiti. Then the UN's faulty sanitation system contaminated a tributary of the Artibonite River, the longest and most important river in Haiti. Even a UN panel has conceded this point. Bill Clinton, who serves as UN Special Envoy to Haiti, has admitted that UN troops were the "proximate cause" of the epidemic, and US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice has acknowledged that the UN played a role. Yet, the UN refuses to accept formal responsibility and it has done little to help treat, prevent, and control the disease.
A number of initiatives are underway to pressure the UN to do more in addressing Haiti's cholera crisis. The Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti has filed a lawsuit on behalf of 5,000 cholera victims. A Congressional letter to Ambassador Rice urges UN authorities to play a central role in addressing the epidemic. Recently, a New York Times editorial made a strong statement in support of this goal. And we have set up a petition that presses the UN to take formal responsibility.
But in order to make the pressure effective, we need to raise awareness. That's where this counter—and you—come in.
Get the Counter
The width and height of our counter is fully customizable, so you can resize however you like to make it fit your sidebar. Below are two examples. The wide counter is 300 pixels wide by 290 pixels high, while the narrow one is 150 pixels wide by 395 pixels. If you would like a counter between these two sizes, go to this page for more examples. If you adjust the size further, remember you must adjust both the width and the height!
Source and Methodology
For our counter, we take the date of cholera's introduction to Haiti to be October 16, 2010, the date on which the first victim is reported to have taken ill.
Our source for numbers of cholera victims is le Ministère de la Santé Publique et de la Population (MSPP). Since these reports tend to be a few weeks behind, we extrapolate from the reported data to estimate the number of cases and deaths on the current date. We do this by taking the average number of new cases and deaths per day in the thirty day period prior to the last data date. We then add these numbers to the counts for each day since the last data date. For example,
Deaths Estimate = Total Number of Deaths Reported on Last Data Date + [[(Total Number of Deaths Reported on Last Data Date - Total Number of Deaths Reported on Date Thirty Days Prior to Last Data Date)/30] * Days Since Last Data Date]
We choose a thirty day period instead of a shorter interval because data from the MSPP is often backlogged. For example, no new deaths may be reported for an entire week, and then twenty deaths will be reported on one day that occurred not just in that day, but over the previous week. Using a thirty day period allows us to spread these sudden spikes in reported deaths over a longer interval while also giving us an estimate that reflects the latest trends in the epidemic.
When there is a particularly marked spike in the reported numbers in a short period of time (such as on June 21, 2012, for example), we will widen the interval even further. At this time, though, the interval is 30 days.
Chart 1: Cholera Cases Per Month Reported in Haiti (Source: MSPP)
Chart 2: Cholera Deaths Per Month Reported in Haiti (Source: MSPP)