Health officials pledge to reduce cholera deaths by 90%

Health Officials from across the globe are set to meet in France and pledge to dramatically reduce cholera deaths by 2030

It is the first time so many have made a commitment to reduce cholera deaths and comes as Yemen fights one of the worst cholera outbreaks on record.

The disease is spread through contaminated water and causes acute diarrhoea.

It is easily prevented with access to clean water as it often spreads in cramped conditions with poor hygiene.

The disease often affects war-torn areas, as is currently the case in Yemen, and can be particularly harmful to children.

It can be treated with rehydration salts which are easy and cheap to obtain, and an oral vaccine can provide protection for up to 3 years which can save thousands in the case of rapid outbreaks.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) 2 billion people across the World do not have access to clean water.

The WHO will be represented at the meeting, alongside charities, donors, and governments.

The WHO released a 32-page document detailing a 3-part response; prevent, stop reoccurrence, and coordinate global efforts.

Yemen outbreak

Tim Wainwright from the charity WaterAid expressed shame over the numbers still dying:

“Looking around the world, the map of cholera outbreaks is essentially the same as a map of poverty and marginalisation.

“The fact that this preventable disease still sickens 2.9 million people every year and kills 95,000 people is a global badge of shame.”

An estimated 5,000 new cases of cholera are recorded in Yemen every day as the country faces political turmoil.

More than 2,000 people have died since April of this year, with the disease killing in a matter of hours if left untreated.

The UN has placed blame on the ongoing conflict which is devastating the country.

A quarter of the fatalities so far have been children.

An air campaign launched by Saudi Arabia in 2015 is believed to have exacerbated conditions, and ongoing conflict has claimed over 10,000 lives.

The current outbreak is being labelled the worst in history.

Experts urge the introduction of adequate water and sanitation in all affected regions and label cholera the ‘disease of the poor’.

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