President Leonel Fernández of the Dominican Republic and President René Préval of Haiti agreed on Thursday to work together to eliminate mosquito-transmitted diseases on the island. The deal was struck under the auspices of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. The 10-year, $200 million program is focused on the eradication of malaria and filariasis.
The Dominican Republic and Haiti are the only Caribbean countries still affected by malaria. According to authorities from both countries, 33,000 malaria cases with 200 deaths were reported in 2007; 90 percent of the cases were on the Haitian side of the border.
A pilot project run by the Carter Center began in 2008 with a $200,000 investment in the border towns Dajabon, Dominican Republic, and Ouanaminthe, Haiti. Hopes are high for the program’s success, with only minimal resistance by a few government officials—a good sign considering the lack of political will in the past.
Repeated emphasis has been made on the need for binational cooperation. Malaria is a threat to both economies as well as to their tourism.