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An End to Cholera by 2030?


The first ever global strategy to prevent cholera is being launched today. Here's what you need to know.

Cholera kills about 100,000 people every year and a disproportionate amount of those live in the developing world. Poorer communities are more susceptible to the disease as it thrives in cramped, dirty conditions and is caused by ingestion of contaminated food and water.

Cholera can be easily treated with rehydration salts which are cheaply available, or avoided altogether if communities have access to clean and reliable toilet facilities.

However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that globally around 2 billion people lack both accessible clean water and money for treatment or new infrastructure, and so are living at risk. Then there’s the additional fact that health care is not usually readily available, meaning outbreaks are not detected early enough, and the disease is left to spread rapidly.

Yemen, an already severely impoverished war-torn country, is currently experiencing one of the worst cholera breaks on record. Many of the 770 000 victims have been children.

So the good news: The US and Northern Europe eliminated cholera some 150 years ago, and these governments are finally stepping up to help acheive that goal for some of the world’s poorest people. As Dr Dominique Legros, head of the WHO’s cholera programme, was quoted saying by the BBC, ‘We have the tools at hand to prevent [cholera outbreaks], so let’s use them.’ 

A strategy by the Global Task Force for Cholera Control is being launched today with the ambitious aim of reducing cholera deaths to 10% of what they are now by 2030.

More information and updates can be found on the
WHO website.



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