The World Health Organization (WHO) is releasing $16 million from its Emergency Fund for cholera control, according to a statement from the Director-General of the organization.
“We are working to provide essential supplies, coordinate the on-the-ground response, and support countries in detecting, preventing and treating cholera and educating people on the best ways to protect themselves,” the statement read.
“We have appealed for $160 million and released $16 million from our Emergency Fund to support this work.”
The declaration comes on the heels of WHO’s publication of new data last week showing that cholera cases in 2022 have more than doubled compared to the previous year, with 28 countries reporting cases so far in 2023, compared to 16 in 2022.
The four countries with the highest levels of cholera concern, according to the statement, are Ethiopia (2%), Haiti (3), Iraq (4) and Sudan (5).
As the rainy season approaches in Southern Africa, there has been progress in some areas, but the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the worst-affected countries and communities are still at risk.
They are poor and lack access to clean water and sanitation, as well as the necessary vaccines and other supplies. Health workers are also overstretched due to multiple disease events and other health crises.
As the winter season approaches, the WHO continues to observe worrying trends related to COVID-19. Among the few countries that have reported it, there has been an increase in hospitalisation and ICU admissions in the last 28 days, especially in the US and Europe. Vaccination levels among the most vulnerable groups remain alarmingly low.
While two-thirds of all people in the world have received a full primary series, only a third have received an “add-on” dose, he said.
“While the acute crisis may not be as acute as it was just a few years ago, that doesn’t mean we can afford to ignore it.”
He pointed out that countries had invested heavily in building up their systems in response to the pandemic, and urged them to continue to do so so that they could protect, test and treat people for the virus and other emerging threats.
“That means maintaining systems for joint surveillance, community safety, scalable care, countermeasures, and coordination.”