Cholera is making a ‘devastating comeback’ after years of steady decline, UN health experts have warned. The disease is targeting the world’s most vulnerable communities. At least 1 billion people in 43 countries are at risk of cholera. The outbreak of this disease has already started in 24 countries.
New countries are now facing outbreaks, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said in new warnings on Friday. The situation is worse than 10 years ago. An outbreak of cholera started in mid-May last year, but its extent was low.
WHO’s incident manager Henry Gray said that people in countries at risk of contracting cholera, if the necessary measures are taken, it is possible to get them out of this risk this year. But for this they need at least $640 million in funding, which they don’t have at the moment. At a press conference at the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, he called on wealthy and donor countries to come forward to fund.
Henry Gray said, among the 43 countries that are currently at risk of cholera outbreaks, several of them are on the list for the first time this year. Also, the death rate from cholera which was there a few years ago, has recently seen a jump. He said, due to poverty, conflict and climate change, the risk of cholera is increasing in different countries in recent years. This year various countries have requested them to supply about 2 crore doses of oral cholera vaccine. But we have only 8 million doses.
Southeast Africa has been particularly affected, with outbreaks in Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, the WHO said.
According to Henry Gray, a person needs to receive at least two doses of the vaccine for complete protection against cholera. But due to lack of vaccine they have requested to give one dose for now. He said that in the next 12 months, the World Health Organization wants to work with the United Nations Children’s Rights and Aid Organization UNICEF to provide cholera vaccination and cholera eradication campaign in more than 40 countries of the world. And for this joint operation, WHO needs 160 million dollars and UNICEF needs 480 million dollars.
In a press conference, the head of UNICEF’s Public Health Emergencies Department, Jeromy Pafman Zambruni, said that in November last year, his organization requested $150 million in support for the cholera eradication campaign around the world. However, as the situation has deteriorated day by day since then, it is necessary to increase the scope of this campaign. “This is a wake-up call for us,” he said. If the work cannot be started now, the situation will take a turn for the worse in the coming days.’