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Tuesday , 12 December 2017
Breaking News

Yemen faces the world’s largest cholera outbreak

with 368,207 suspected cases and 1,828 deaths reported since 27 April 2017. Every day, 5,000 more Yemenis fall ill with symptoms of acute watery diarrhoea /cholera.
 
WHO and health partners are focussing resources and efforts on interventions that can most effectively treat those affected by the outbreak and reduce further spread. This includes scaling up access to clean water and sanitation, setting up treatment centres, training health workers, reinforcing surveillance and working with communities on prevention.
 
The response is working but we need to scale it up. More than 99% of people who become sick with suspected cholera and who are able to access health services survive. We must provide life-saving oral rehydration therapy corners and treatment centres for as many people as possible.
 
Cholera attacks the most vulnerable. Children aged under 15 account for 41% of all suspected cases; people aged over 60 account for one third of all cholera deaths.
 
We need to break the vicious cycle of malnutrition and diarrhoea. 17 million people in Yemen are currently food insecure. Malnutrition exacerbates diarrhoea, and diarrhoea leads to malnutrition.
 
Surveillance confirms a decline in suspected cases over the past two weeks in some of the most affected governorates (Amanat al-Asimah, Amran and Sana’a). This data should be interpreted withgreat caution, given a backlog in the analysis of suspected cases. We continue to monitor the situation to establish whether this decline trend continues over the coming weeks. Even if the outbreak is beginning to slow in some areas, thousands are falling sick every day and the situation remains alarming.
 
Yemen’s cholera outbreak is far from being controlled. The rainy season has just started and may increase the pace of transmission.
 
More than half of all Yemeni health facilities have closed or are only partially functional, leaving 14.8 million people without access to basic healthcare.
 
14.5 million people do not have regular access to clean water and sanitation because infrastructure has been disrupted. 
 
How WHO is responding to the cholera outbreak?
 
Tens of thousands of lives are saved by establishing treatment centres, delivering supplies, distributing public health guidance, training health workers, and working with communities on prevention but more needs to be done. 

  • Since 27 April, WHO has provided 788,000 bags of intravenous fluids (IV), 525 beds with cleaning supplies, and 112 kits containing supplies for the treatment of cholera and diarrhoeal diseases. WHO and partners have delivered enough IV supplies to care for the severe cases.  
  • 400-tonne delivery of WHO procured supplies: 20 ambulances, 200 tonnes of medicines and hospital equipment, and 140 tonnes of food items (plumpy nut) for children with malnutrition (on behalf of UNICEF) arrived in Yemen on 30 June.
  • 10 WHO-procured ambulances were sent to Aden a few weeks ago and ten more are due to arrive in coming weeks.
  • As of 6 July, WHO, UNICEF and partners have established 2,924 diarrhoea treatment beds out of the 5,006 planned – 60% of the target number of diarrhoea treatment beds. Some 711 fully operational oral rehydration therapy corners have been established with a further 487 in the planning stages. Partners have established 60% of the planned 1,198 rehydration therapy corners. 

Challenges 

  • Due to the conflict, fewer than half of the country’s health centres are fully functional.
  • Access to affected populations is difficult because of the security situation.
  • Health and sanitation workers have not received their salaries in more than eight months.
  • Food insecurity affected 17 million Yemenis.

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