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UN agency warns of cholera outbreak in Ethiopia

by Haruna Gimba
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By Asmau Ahmad

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) has warned of the ongoing cholera outbreak in southeastern Ethiopia as the death toll climbed to 94.

The UNOCHA said in its latest situation update issued on friday that the cholera outbreak is the longest that is spreading unabated with a high risk of cross-border spread of the disease.

It also warned that floods have further exacerbated health risks, including cholera in the affected parts of the East African country.

It said some 41 cholera treatment centers and units across affected areas were operational, and an estimated 35,850 people have received clean drinking water as at the beginning of May.

Figures from the UNOCHA shows that some 100,000 people were previously vaccinated, while a new round of oral cholera vaccination campaign with 1.9 million doses available as of early April is scheduled for rollout in mid-May.

It, however, said coverage by the campaign is low considering a population of more than 7 million is living in and near the affected areas.

Widening oral cholera vaccination coverage requires more funds, it said.

It added that strategic investments, especially in safe drinking water supply systems, sanitation, and hygiene, can eliminate the risk of cholera, even in vulnerable communities affected by insecurity and displacement.

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