WHO launches bold plan to slash cholera deaths by 90 percent
The World Health Organization and 50 other agencies working on health and international development have declared war on cholera. A road map will be launched today that describes how the partners plan to cut deaths from the water-borne bacteria – now running at 95,000 a year – by 90 per cent by 2030.
That will mean eliminating cholera from 20 of the 47 countries that have it, and enabling the rest to detect and stop outbreaks before they get out of control, according to this Global Task Force on Cholera Control.
The challenge is daunting. Three million people get cholera every year, in Asia, Africa and Haiti, and increasing urbanization and temperatures will put more people at risk. In Yemen, the biggest epidemic in modern times is now approaching 800,000 cases, and is growing. Emergency experts say a “catastrophic” outbreak looms in Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh.
We already have the tools to stop this, says Peter Salama, head of emergency operations at the WHO in Geneva, Switzerland. Cholera spreads in water containing infected faeces. Rich countries banished it a century ago, not with vaccines, but with toilets and hygiene.
Photo courtesy of Keoni Cabral.
- Health Care