According to the WHO, cholera causes 100,000 – 120,000 deaths every year. Half of the recorded cases occur in the DRC. The Veolia Foundation has been committed to combating this disease since 2007. An epidemiological study conducted in partnership with the Veolia Foundation helped develop a national strategic plan to eradicate cholera based on a multi-sector approach.
Work has been planned in the town of Uvira (South Kivu Province) for 2016-2018 to improve access to drinking water, both in terms of availability (accessibility and quantity) and quality. The LSHTM is monitoring the project* to assess its effectiveness. As the programme’s scientific partner, the LSHTM has just published an article showing the correlation between increases in the number of cases of cholera and interruptions in piped water supply. The prestigious public health journal PLOS MED (Public Library of Science Medicine) selected the research for publication in late October.
The LSHTM found a significant association between piped water interruptions and admissions to a cholera treatment centre in Uvira. Findings show that 23.2% of the cholera cases reported in Uvira between 2009 and 2014 were attributable to recurrent equipment breakdowns at the drinking water treatment plant. The article goes into greater depth and contextualises this figure and also shows that in addition to installing pipes and chlorinating water to combat cholera, there is also a need to ensure that drinking water is supplied regularly, reliably and in sufficient quantities. The findings of this research underscore the importance of the quality of water services. The Veolia Foundation believes that the findings reaffirm its commitment to this multi-year programme to improve water access in order to combat cholera in the DRC.
* Funded by the French Development Agency (AFD), the European Union, Oxfam and the Veolia Foundation and coordinated by the Veolia Foundation.