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The war to end cholera: How a lack of clean water and sanitation are contributing to the global spread of the disease

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The War to end Cholera’, a new report published today by WaterAid, reveals that the countries with the highest cholera burden are the same nations with the greatest number of people living without clean water and decent sanitation. WaterAid is warning that global efforts to end cholera will fail unless the world’s poorest are given the tools they need to fight the disease – clean water, decent sanitation and good hygiene.

India tops the list of countries with the highest estimated number of cholera cases globally (675,000). It also has the greatest number of people living without access to clean water (163 million) and a decent household toilet (732 million), the WaterAid report shows.

Ethiopia and Nigeria follow in second and third place respectively. Both nations also have the second and third highest number of people globally living without access to clean water, and they rank among the top for having the most people without basic sanitation.

Nicole Hurtubise, WaterAid Canada’s Chief Executive officer, said:

“The fact that this preventable disease still affects 2.9 million people every year and kills 95,000 people is inconceivable. Cholera can be eliminated with simple things we already know work. By providing people with clean water and decent sanitation, we can win the war against cholera and leave this deadline disease behind forever.”

On October 4th, the WHO”s Global Task Force for Cholera Control (GTFCC)* will launch ‘**Ending Cholera – A Global Roadmap to 2030**’ with a goal to reduce cholera deaths by 90 per cent and eliminate the transmission of the in up to 20 countries by 2030. The GTFCC brings together government and non-governmental organizations, including WaterAid, UN agencies such as the World Health Organization, and scientific institutions. At the end of the one-day meeting being held in Annecy, France, nations and participating partners are expected to sign a declaration committing to the roadmap.

Key Facts

  • Cholera still affects more than 40 countries across the globe
  • There are 2.9 million cholera cases each year and as many as 95,000 deaths
  • Globally 844 million people still lack basic access to drinking water, and 2.4 billion are without a decent household toilet, potentially exposing them to a range of water-related diseases including cholera.
  • Cholera costs the world an estimated $2 billion per year in treatment and hospitalisation and the related lost productivity.
  • Ensuring communities have long-term, sustainable access to clean water, decent sanitation and
    hygiene may cost as little as $40 per person

Notes to Editors:

*URL goes live on Tuesday October 4 at 17:00 GMT
****WaterAid analysis