The U.N. and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working to fight an outbreak of cholera that has infected more than 17,000 people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) need an additional $5.5 million to help their efforts, Elisabeth Byrs, a spokesperson for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said on Friday, the U.N. News Centre reports (11/18). “The U.N. says donations received will go toward improving water and sanitation and providing medical assistance for victims,” the VOA “Breaking News” blog writes (11/19). “This $5.5 million is really urgently needed because the rainy season is set to begin,” Byrs said, Agence France-Presse notes (11/19).
“Cholera has broken out in the world’s largest refugee camp in Kenya, home to nearly 500,000 Somali refugees, the United Nations said on Tuesday,” Reuters reports (Nebehay, 11/15). “There are now 60 cases of cholera in [Kenya’s Dadaab complex], including 10 laboratory-confirmed cases and one refugee death, according to Andrej Mahecic, a spokesperson for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR),” the U.N. News Centre writes.
Some Public Health Experts Raise Concerns Over Plans To Immunize Haitians Against Cholera, AP Reports
The Associated Press/Washington Times reports on a pilot project plan by Partners In Health (PIH) and GHESKIO to vaccinate Haitians against cholera, which “has set off a debate among some public health experts who question the wisdom of [the] program that will inoculate only one percent of the population and could deplete the world’s stock of available cholera vaccine, potentially putting people at risk in other vulnerable places.” The program will cost an estimated $870,000, money that some experts say would be better spent cleaning up contaminated waterways, according to the AP.
The Boston-based Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti on Tuesday “filed claims with the United Nations seeking damages on behalf of more than 5,000 Haitian cholera victims and their families,” the Associated Press/San Francisco Chronicle reports (Daniel, 11/8).
One year after cholera was detected in Haiti, the New York Times reports on how, “[a]s the epidemic continues, the Cuban medical mission that played an important role in detecting it presses on in Haiti, winning accolades from donors and diplomats for staying on the front lines and undertaking a broader effort to remake this country’s shattered health care system.” The newspaper recaps a brief history of Cuban medical missions in Haiti since 1998 and writes, “There is no doubt that the Cuban mission has been vital here.”
“Seasonal rains cause massive damage and disease throughout Nigeria each year, and this year’s onslaught comes as international experts warn West Africa is suffering from its worst cholera outbreaks in years,” the Associated Press/ABC News reports. According to UNICEF, Nigeria “had recorded more than 21,000 cholera cases this year by the end of September” and “[a]t least 694 people have died from the disease,” the news agency writes. Twenty-five of Nigeria’s 36 states have reported cholera cases, with most coinciding with local flooding, the AP notes, adding that “almost half of Nigeria’s 150 million people lack access to clean water and proper sanitation, according to the World Health Organization” (Gambrell, 10/26).
In a two-part series, the Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog summarizes the presentations of a panel of experts at the Infectious Diseases Society of America’s (IDSA) 49th Annual Meeting in Boston Sunday, who examined the origins of and responses to the cholera epidemic in Haiti. The first part examines…
NPR’s Tell Me More host Michel Martin on Monday spoke with Christine Ivers of Partners In Health (PIH) in Haiti and journalist Jacqueline Charles of the Miami Herald about the ongoing cholera outbreak in Haiti. The guests discuss the origins of the epidemic, ongoing public education campaigns, and PIH’s plans to rollout a cholera vaccine (10/24).
“Western and central Africa are facing one of the biggest cholera epidemics in their history, the World Health Organisation and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said last month, in reporting that more than 85,000 cases of cholera have been registered since the beginning of the year, with nearly 2,500 deaths,” according to Le Monde/Guardian. The newspaper writes, “UNICEF has identified three main cholera epidemic outbreaks in the Lake Chad basin, the West Congo basin and Lake Tanganyika,” and “[f]ive countries — Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (RDC) and Chad — account for 90 percent of the reported cases and fatalities.”
“With almost 17,000 cases reported in the latest nationwide cholera outbreak, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) must rethink its preparedness strategy to curb future outbreaks, health experts told IRIN,” the news service reports. “According to Kossi Ayigan of the WHO, the health cluster coordinator, the emergency response phase of the current cholera outbreak is drawing to a close and should be followed by firm action on proper sanitation and provision of safe drinking water by the government and its development partners,” according to IRIN.