Haiti: UN troops rotation from Africa suspended to keep Ebola away

Published on by Rachel Belt (author)

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (HCNN) -- Haitian officials said on Thursday that the United Nations stabilization mission to Haiti has suspended all troops rotation from Africa, in a move to prevent an outbreak of the Ebola epidemic in the Caribbean country where authorities announced increased border control to keep the deadly disease away.

Haitian Health and Population minister, Florence Duperval Guillaume, said the UN mission has suspended rotations of UN troops from African countries affected by the Ebola epidemic, as a precautionary measure to minimize risks of transportation of the disease within Haitian borders.  

"We agreed that UN authorities would cease troops rotations from Africa and this has been the case for some time now," Guillaume told the Haitian-Caribbean News Network (HCNN) on Thursday.

"If any staff member who was on vacation from Africa has to come back to work, it is agreed that they would undergo a very special screening process before they could be allowed to operate again," she said.

The Health and Population minister announced an increased anti Ebola border control in cooperation with the UN mission in Haiti, known as MINUSTAH which has set up an isolation unit at one of its bases to house anyone who would have shown the Ebola symptoms.

The disease usually takes the forms of a hemorrhagic fever which has already killed several thousand people in several African countries.

Haitian authorities announced sanitation projects and initiatives at airports and ports to provide the population with the knowledge and the means they need to protect themselves, in case the disease would have penetrated Haitian borders.

In 2010, UN troops from Nepal were blamed for bringing cholera to Haiti, which has killed more than 8,000 people and sickened over 700,000 thousand.

Haitian president Michel Martelly and Prime minister Laurent Lamothe have on several occasions discussed about the issue with UN Secretary-general Ban Ki Moon who promised to help Haiti eradicate cholera, but never publically admitted UN troops have brought the disease to the Caribbean nation.

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