UN: WHO steps up cholera response in Central African Republic

New York, US (PANA) - The World Health Organization (WHO) and partners are stepping up efforts to respond to a recent cholera outbreak in villages along the Oubangui River in Central African Republic (CAR), and have stressed the urgent need for more resources and support for the country.

According to a WHO news release on Friday, a cholera outbreak was declared on 10 August, with 46 confirmed cases and 13 deaths from Djoujou, Damara and Bangui cities.

"This cholera outbreak in villages along the banks of the Oubangui simply compounds the already worrisome health security needs for the people in the CAR who have already suffered so much from the effects of a protracted humanitarian crisis due to war and displacement," said Michel Yao, WHO’s Representative to CAR.

He noted that WHO and the country’s Ministry of Health and Sanitation have activated a cholera control command centre which includes all humanitarian partners on the ground with task forces covering case management, surveillance, water, sanitation and hygiene, risk communication and social mobilization, logistics, security and management of dead bodies.

He disclosed that patients who reached Bangui, the capital, were being cared for in a WHO-supported medical centre, with treatment supplies from stocks that were already pre-positioned as part of the country’s cholera preparedness for the rainy season.

"Moreover, a mobile team of health partners is conducting water source treatment and community engagement activities in villages along the Oubangui River," the WHO official stated.

"The continuing crisis in the country, including insecurity in some areas has exacerbated existing challenges with disease surveillance, which is essential to enable early detection and an efficient response to outbreaks such as cholera," Mr. Yao warned.

He also stressed the urgent need for additional resources to enhance disease surveillance as well as support to restore health services, especially as many public health threats still exist.

Recently the UN refugee agency said more than 6,000 people from CAR have fled into Chad and Cameroon to escape renewed tension and violent clashes since mid-June.

UNHCR had also appealed for US$225.5 million to beef up its humanitarian support in CAR.

More than three years of civil war and sectarian violence have displaced thousands of people in CAR amid continuing clashes between the mainly Muslim Seleka rebel coalition and anti-Balaka militia, who are mostly Christian.
-0-  PANA  AA/AR  12Aug2016

12 august 2016 16:39:48

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