Today the World Health Organisation (WHO) will outline a plan to reduce cholera cases by 90% by 2030. The declaration
Today the World Health Organisation (WHO) will outline a plan to reduce cholera cases by 90% by 2030.
The declaration comes at a grimly relevant time; a cholera epidemic in war-ravaged Yemen is on track to become the worst outbreak in recorded history. The country has seen 700,000 suspected cases, and the numbers are expected to grow as a Saudi-led bombing has left half the country’s hospitals unusable and 14.5 million Yemenis without potable water.
In addition to the outbreak in Yemen, the WTO estimates that 2.9 million people each year contract cholera, causing 95,000 annual deaths.
The WHO’s proposals call for increased access to sanitary water and hygiene services, expanded vaccination, and strengthening disease surveillance systems. But these strategies’ effectiveness can face barriers where they are needed most; a WHO plan to ship one million vaccines to Yemen was suspended in July because of the conflict.
Although the WHO may make significant progress in cholera hotspots like Haiti that suffer merely from poverty and poor governance, the obstacles to effective disease prevention in war-torn areas like Somalia and Yemen mean the WHO is unlikely to meet its 90% target.
Delve deeper: Yemen: no easy win
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