Tuesday, 17 October 2017 11:40

Cholera: ending a 50-year pandemic

The global annual cholera burden is estimated at around 2·9 million cases per year, resulting in 95 000 deaths. In 2017, these estimates could be far exceeded due to a number of devastating outbreaks, including those in Yemen and northern Nigeria. So far this year, 750 000 suspected cases, causing over 2000 deaths, have occurred in Yemen alone. Currently, there is concern about the risk of a cholera epidemic among Rohingya refugees in the Cox's Bazar region of Bangladesh. In response to this public health threat, the Global Task Force on Cholera Control (GTFCC), has brought together representatives from cholera-affected countries, donors, and technical experts to develop a Global Roadmap to 2030. Published on Oct 3, the document describes a multisectoral strategy that could reduce cholera deaths by 90% and eliminate the disease from a further 20 countries by 2030....

Improvements in WASH systems can eliminate cholera, but although the rate of return on investment is good, these are initially expensive, and the slow expansion of WASH provision has failed to tackle the burden of cholera and other water-borne diarrhoeal diseases. The pivotal change in cholera control has been the development of oral cholera vaccines (OCV), underpinned by an improved understanding of the mechanism of cholera immunity. In a series of landmark research developments over the past 10 years, the efficacy, safety, acceptability, and feasibility of these vaccines have been demonstrated. The creation of a growing global OCV stockpile by WHO, with long-term funding support from Gavi, signalled the step-change in cholera prevention strategies and, since 2013, 13 million vaccine doses have been deployed, mostly in the emergency control of epidemics.

Published in Global initiatives
Friday, 06 October 2017 06:00

First global pledge to end cholera by 2030

Health officials from around the world are meeting in France to commit to preventing 90% of cholera deaths by 2030.

The disease, which is spread through contaminated water, kills about 100,000 people every year.

It is the first time governments, the World Health Organization, aid agencies and donors have made such a pledge.

It comes as Yemen continues to fight one of the worst cholera outbreaks on record. Cholera has been spreading in the war-torn country due to deteriorating hygiene and sanitation conditions and disruptions to the water supply.

More than 770,000 people have been infected with the disease, which is easily treatable with the right medical equipment, and 2,000 have died. Many of the victims are children. These huge outbreaks tend to grab the headlines, but there are also frequent outbreaks in so-called cholera "hotspots".

Published in Global initiatives