Continuous water supply: a decisive factor in the fight against cholera


#WASH #health #DRC

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Around 2.4 billion cases of diarrhoeal disease were recorded globally in 2015, causing approximately 500,000 deaths among children under five. Over 60% of these deaths were attributed to poor access to water and sanitation. Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal disease which, if left untreated, can lead to death within hours. Each year, 1.3 to 4 million cases and 95,000 deaths - half of them affecting children under the age of five - are estimated to be due to cholera. In sub-Saharan Africa, more than half of all cholera cases occur in “hotspots” accounting for less than 4% of the total population. The Global Task Force on Cholera Control (GTFCC) strategy targets these hotspots.

Operational lessons:

  • Diarrhoeal diseases, including cholera, remain a major public health
    problem in populations without access to safe drinking water.
  • Research conducted in Uvira in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) highlights the importance of a safe and continuous supply of drinking water.
  • Investment in drinking water supply is a central pillar of cholera prevention strategies and also prevents various other important diarrhoeal diseases.

Authors: Karin Gallandat (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), Pierre-Yves Durand (Agence française de développement), Thierry Vandevelde (Veolia Foundation), Jaime Saidi (Ministry of Health, Democratic Republic of the Congo).