Togo: Cholera outbreak DREF operation n° MDRTG004 Final Report

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Summary: CHF 154,913 was allocated from the IFRC’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) on 03 November 2013 to support the National Society in delivering assistance to some 80,000 beneficiaries.
Togo experienced three cholera outbreaks from August, 2013 to February, 2014. The first cases of cholera were reported in a village in Lomé, which subsequently spread to the entire Maritime and the Central regions. Of the seven regions in the Maritime region, six were affected. The total number of cases reported for the duration of operation is 168 with 7 deaths, thus a case fatality rate of 4 percent.

The factors linked to torrential rains, precarious sanitary conditions in the affected districts, the displacement of populations coming from Nigeria, the start of the school year were among the main contributors to the spread of the epidemic.

With the support of the regional representation office of the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) based in Abidjan, the Togolese Red Cross Society (CRT) reinforced its collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MoH) to help reduce the suffering of the affected persons and communities. The CRT mobilized initial response in cooperation with United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Swiss Red Cross in October 2013 and on 4 November the allocation of the IFRC DREF was approved to scale up response interventions. The CRT responded by mobilising and training 250 volunteers to assist in the cholera response activities in the affected communities. There work was supported by field officers present in the affected regions and from the National Society headquarters. CRT also increased the knowledge and competences of 18 existing training officers and other actors from the Wash Cluster. The training carried out included control of epidemics with the use tools developed by IFRC. The volunteers also gained knowledge on water chlorination, the techniques of effective sensitisation activities in households, schools and the markets, as well as data collection.

The trained 250 volunteers carried out the sensitisation activities by disseminating cholera prevention messages, by teaching the communities how to prepare and use oral rehydration solutions (ORS) as well as toteach households on the basics and importance of washing hands and safe water storage at household and schools level. The community members were also sensitized on the chlorination of water points and their proper use and maintenance. Moreover, hand washing points were installed in 71 schools to assure promotion of good hygiene.

Despite other work pressure, the National Society, the DREF operation was effectively implemented and greatly contributed to overcoming the epidemic. The CRT received the technical support of IFRC in addition to the presence of one emergency rescue unit (ERU) member deployed by the German Red Cross. The member not only participated in planning but also attended training sessions organised for volunteers. The expertise from the WASH cluster allowed CRT to achieve on the objectives of the operation, complemented by the timely supply of chlorine tablet by the UNICEF.