2 March 2017, Sana’a, Yemen — A consultative workshop on acute watery diarrhoea (AWD)/cholera response concluded today in Sana’a with the participation of WHO, UNICEF, health authorities and representatives from water, information, education and endowment ministries.
The 2-day workshop aimed to review and assess the epidemiological situation of the current AWD/cholera outbreak, discuss challenges in the management of the outbreak, formulate an agreement for information sharing among Health and WASH Cluster partners, and develop a national preparedness and response strategy for risk reduction.
“The recommendations from this workshop are extremely important and will allow us to formulate a preparedness plan across the country in order to ensure prompt actions and mitigate the risk of similar outbreaks in the future,” said Dr Nevio Zagaria, WHO Acting Representative for WHO Yemen. “WHO remains committed to supporting health authorities in prevention and responding to disease outbreaks and protecting the health of all people in Yemen.”
Since the beginning of the outbreak, a cumulative number of 21 790 suspected cholera cases and 103 deaths have been reported in 165 districts. A total of 193 stool samples from 905 patients from 15 governorates have tested positive for Vibrio cholerae.
As of 28 February, the cumulative suspected cases of AWD/cholera have decreased in 148 districts out of 165.
As part of its cholera outbreak response plan, WHO rehabilitated and fully equipped 26 diarrhoea treatment centres in affected governorates to treat patients based on WHO case management, infection prevention and control standards. WHO is also providing medicines and medical supplies, including oral rehydration solutions and IV fluids and is paying incentives for medical staff to ensure the centres remain functional.
WHO has enhanced Yemen’s early warning surveillance system to detect, monitor and response early to any outbreak, increasing the number of electronic sentinel sites from 408 health facilities in 16 governorates to 1982 facilities in 23 governorates by December 2016.
According to epidemiological surveillance data, disease trends from 2015 to 2016 have shown a consistent increase in diarrhoeal disease cases due to deteriorating water and sanitation conditions. Shortages of laboratory reagents and lack of operational funds to run health facilities also represent obstacles to containing the cholera outbreak.
“WHO continues to scale up its response to the cholera outbreak, despite limited funding, ongoing insecurity and access challenges. Preventing the spread of the outbreak is a high priority for WHO and we are coordinating efforts with all parties to ensure an effective response,” Dr Zagaria said.
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