UNICEF Seeks Urgent Action to Address Cholera Outbreak in West, Central Africa

People at a cholera treatment center in Chad. People in West and Central Africa experience one of the worst ever cholera epidemic to hit the region, according to UNICEF. Photo by: Nancy Palus / IRIN

People in West and Central Africa are facing “one of the worst ever” cholera epidemics to hit the region, according to UNICEF, which has urged for a redoubling of efforts to fight the outbreak.

UNICEF said there are more than 85,000 reported cases of cholera so far this year, resulting in at least 2,466 deaths. Among the countries with the most cases are Chad, Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the agency said. There are also reported cases in Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Togo and Guinea, but UNICEF said the outbreak in these countries is under control.

UNICEF said it is delivering treatment kits, assisting epidemiological surveys and conducting awareness campaigns to help stop the further spread of the epidemic. But it urged governments to coordinate their responses and prevention plans to boost regional efforts to contain the outbreak.

“Information exchange between cross-border districts on caseloads and population movements, as well as cross-border inspections for disinfection and chlorination are proven ways to contain the disease and save lives,” UNICEF said.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.