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WHO appeals for $160m to respond to cholera in 7 countries

by Haruna Gimba
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By Asmau Ahmad

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has appealed for 160.4 million dollars to respond to cholera through the global strategic preparedness, readiness and response plan in seven countries.

The UN world health body is a statement on Monday said that $16.6 million has been released from the WHO Contingency Fund for Emergencies for cholera response in 2022 and 2023.

These countries in said are Afghanistan, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Nigeria, Somalia and Syrian Arab Republic.

“WHO is supporting countries to respond to cholera outbreaks on an emergency footing through the strengthening of public health surveillance and case management.

“Also, through prevention measures; providing essential medical supplies; coordinating field deployments with partners; and supporting risk communication and community engagement,” it said.

It said that the new analysis confirmed world seeing an upsurge of cholera.

The WHO said that the comprehensive cholera statistics for 2022, published by WHO shed light on the scale and extent of the ongoing cholera upsurge.

According to it, while data for cholera remain inadequate, cases reported to WHO in 2022 were more than double those in 2021.

It said that forty-four countries reported cases, a 25 per cent increase from the 35 countries that reported cases in 2021.

“Not only were there more outbreaks, but the outbreaks were larger.

“Seven countries, Afghanistan, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Nigeria, Somalia, Syrian Arab Republic have each reported over 10 000 suspected and confirmed cases,’” it said.

It said that the larger the outbreak, the harder it typically is to control.

“Cholera is an acute intestinal infection that spreads through food and water contaminated with faeces containing the bacterium Vibrio cholerae.

“It is closely linked to the lack of adequate safe water and sanitation, due to underdevelopment, poverty and conflict.

“Climate change too is playing a role in this upsurge as extreme climate events like floods, droughts and cyclones trigger new outbreaks and worsen existing ones,” it said.

According to it, current data for 2023 suggest that this global upsurge is continuing.

“Twenty-four countries are currently reporting active outbreaks, with some countries in the midst of acute crises,” it said.

The WHO said that increased demand for cholera materials has been a challenge for disease control efforts globally.

It said that since October 2022, the International Coordinating Group (ICG) the body which manages emergency supplies of vaccines—has suspended the standard two-dose vaccination regimen in cholera outbreak response campaigns, using instead a single-dose approach.

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