With the cholera epidemic now 172,286 suspected cases, including 1,170 deaths in Yemen, United Nations agencies said a “race” is under way to contain it.

“We see that the numbers are going up, it’s really trying to race against the spread and try to get treatment and water and sanitation measures to every corner, especially to those corners that are basically exporting the bacteria to other places” Tarik Jasarevic a spokesperson for WHO told reporters at the regular bi-weekly press briefing in Geneva.

Image/Video screen shot
Image/Video screen shot

Together with the UN Children’s Fund, WHO says it is attempting to stop cholera being “exported” from the worst-affected areas.

In Raymah in western Yemen, mortality rates are almost twice the national average.

In related news, WHO and the King Salman Centre for Humanitarian Aid and Relief have signed an agreement for almost US$ 8.3 million to support the ongoing health response to the cholera outbreak in Yemen.

“While cholera is usually a disease that can be easily prevented and treated, millions of people in Yemen are at risk as a result of limited heath, water and environmental sanitation services. This funding from the King Salman Centre for Humanitarian Aid and Relief to the people of Yemen under the umbrella of WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean comes at a critical time and provides us with an opportunity to continue building on our response to contain and control this serious outbreak,” said Dr Mahmoud Fikri, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean.

The support from the King Salman Centre will ensure that 7.3 million people in 13 priority governorates are reached with life-saving health services as part of coordinated efforts by all health partners to conduct prevention activities and provide treatment.

Specifically, this support will enable WHO, health authorities and health cluster partners to:

• strengthen and improve surveillance for early detection, investigation and response;
• ensure implementation of treatment measures based on national treatment protocols and international standards;
• ensure safe isolation and infection control practices in health facilities;
• empower household and communities to improve health-seeking behaviour and apply safe hygiene, sanitation and food safety measures;
• strengthen logistics capacity for swift procurement and distribution of health supplies, especially medications;
• ensure efficient and effective national and subnational cluster coordination is in place to manage the outbreak.