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Prepositioning Of Supplies, Knowledge To Handle Disease Outbreaks ‘Future Of Disaster Management’

In this New York Times opinion piece, columnist Tina Rosenberg examines a global rise in cholera cases, writing, “The World Health Organization estimates that there are between three million and five million cases of cholera each year, and between 100,000 and 120,000 deaths. New and more virulent strains are emerging in Asia and Africa, and the WHO says that global warming creates even more hospitable conditions for the disease.” However, “[c]holera should not be a terror. It is easy to treat if you know how,” she writes.

“Countries that live permanently with endemic cholera, like Bangladesh, see fewer than one death per 100 cases,” but “[i]n countries unfamiliar with the disease, people don’t know the steps to take or have the tools they need,” she continues, noting, “[I]n recent epidemics in Zimbabwe, Somalia and Haiti, death rates in some areas have been reported at 10, 20 or even 50 percent.” She highlights a new partnership between AmeriCares and the International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research in Bangladesh that aims to “make it possible to get supplies and knowledge to cholera-stricken areas much faster” through the distribution of “a group of pallets containing everything necessary to treat 15,000 cases of cholera.” She concludes, “This is increasingly the future of disaster management: prepositioning to get what’s needed to where it’s needed earlier” (4/7).