Yemen: Cholera Outbreak Situation Report No. 1 (as of 13 October 2016)

Situation Report
Originally published



  • As of 13 October, 15 cases of cholera have been confirmed: 11 in Sana’a and four in Al Bayda.

  • WHO estimates that 76,000 people are at risk in 15 governorates.

  • National health system’s capacity to respond has been compromised by 18 months of conflict.

  • Planned interventions include the establishment of 15 Cholera Treatment Centers. The overall cost of the integrated Cholera/Acute Watery Diarrhea outbreak Response Plan in Yemen stands at $22.3M.

Situation Overview

On 6 October 2016, Yemen’s Ministry of Public Health and Population confirmed 15 cholera cases, 11 cases in Sana’a and four cases in Al Bayda. Cholera is an acute intestinal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio Cholerae. It can quickly lead to severe dehydration and death if treatment is not promptly given. The cases were admitted to Al-Sabeen Hospital in Sana'a and are receiving intensive treatment. The outbreak is currently confined to the Al-Nasr neighborhood of Sana’a city located in the district of Sho'ob. Laboratory tests of suspected cholera cases in Taizz and Al Hudaydah have so far come out negative.

The outbreak poses a significant threat given the drastic deterioration of the health care infrastructure. Currently only 45 per cent of health facilities are functional. The national health system’s capacity to respond to the cholera outbreak has been severely compromised by the continuing decline in performance due to conflict. The situation is also further exacerbated by the inadequate sanitary conditions, especially in the cities, with uncollected garbage playing a role in the spread of cholera. Two-thirds of Yemen’s population does not have access to clean water supply. The 3.1 million internally displaced population of concern is particularly vulnerable to the outbreak. WHO estimates that 76,018 people are at risk of attack with Acute Watery Diarrhea/Cholera in 15 governorates.

Health cluster partners are targeting 3.8 million people at risk through surveillance, health promotion, and laboratory and treatment/case management.

The Ministry of Public Health and Population in partnership with WHO, UNICEF and health partners are mobilizing a rapid WASH and health response, including a public outreach campaign. An integrated Cholera Response Plan that encompasses a comprehensive health, WASH and communication interventions has been endorsed. The plan identifies the required funding to scale up response in areas where confirmed cases have been reported and other high risk areas. Among the planned interventions are: 1) the establishment of 15 Cholera Treatment Centers, and 2) the strengthening of surveillance system, water treatment and hygiene and sanitation campaigns in Abyan, Aden, Amran, Al Bayda, Al Dhale, Dahmar, Hadramaut, Hajjah Al Hudaydah, Ibb, Lahj, Sa’ada, Sana’a – including Sana’a city - and Taizz governorates.

Given the overall situation in Yemen, containing the outbreak at an early stage is critical to avoid the spread of the disease. The failure to control the outbreak could have immense public health consequences, straining the overstretched capacity of health services and resulting in an increase of morbidity and mortality rates

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