WHO, partners launch road map for ending cholera by 2030
05 Oct 2017, 01:25 ( 12 days ago)
A global task force including the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners launched an ambitious new strategy on Wednesday to reduce deaths from cholera by 90 percent by 2030.
The new plan was launched by the Global Task Force on Cholera Control (GTFCC), a network of more than 50 United Nations (UN) and international agencies, academic institutions, and NGOs that support countries affected by the disease.
The road map aims to align resources, share best practices and strengthen partnerships between affected countries, donors, and international agencies. It underscores the need for a coordinated approach to cholera control with country-level planning for early detection and response to outbreaks. By implementing the road map, up to 20 countries and regions affected by the disease could eliminate cholera by 2030.
Cholera kills an estimated 95,000 people and affects 2.9 million more every year. It spreads in endemic "hotspots" where predictable outbreaks of the disease occur year after year.
WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it's the poor and the vulnerable on whom cholera takes its greatest toll. "This is a disease of inequity...It is unacceptable that nearly two decades into the 21st century, cholera continues to destroy livelihoods and cripple economies," he added, confirming that the road map was "the best way we have to bring this to an end."
Advances in water sanitation and hygiene services have made Europe and North America cholera-free for several decades. However, over 2 billion people worldwide still lack access to safe water and are potentially at risk of cholera, while weak health systems and low early detection capacity further contribute to the rapid spread of outbreaks, according to the WHO.
To make it worse, cholera disproportionally impacts communities already burdened by conflict, lack of infrastructure, poor health systems, and malnutrition. Protecting these communities before cholera strikes is significantly more cost-effective than continually responding to outbreaks.
The global road map provides an effective mechanism to synchronize the efforts of countries, donors, and technical partners. It underscores the need for a multi-sectoral approach to cholera control with country-level planning for early detection and response to outbreaks.