Issue: November 2017
October 04, 2017
2 min read

Global partners seek 90% decrease in cholera deaths by 2030

Issue: November 2017
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Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

A global network of organizations has launched an effort to reduce cholera-related deaths by 90% within 13 years, WHO announced.

The Global Task Force on Cholera Control (GTFCC) — comprising more than 50 groups including the United Nations and international agencies, universities and nongovernmental organizations — has named its campaign “Ending Cholera: A Global Roadmap to 2030.”

WHO, which is part of the GTFCC, estimates that cholera causes 95,000 deaths and affects another 2.9 million people each year.

“Every death from cholera is preventable with the tools available today, including use of the oral cholera vaccine and improved access to basic safe water, sanitation and hygiene as set out in the roadmap,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, said in a news release.  “This is a disease of inequity that affects the poorest and most vulnerable. It is unacceptable that, nearly 2 decades into the 21st century, cholera continues to destroy livelihoods and cripple economies. We must act together, and we must act now.”

The roadmap is aimed at coordinating efforts, directing the combined resources of partner groups and sharing effective disease-control methods while helping countries reduce their cholera burdens.

It targets what officials call “hotspots” — areas where the disease is endemic and outbreaks occur repeatedly. Specifically, the roadmap will address hotspots in 47 African, Asian and Caribbean countries, WHO cholera team lead Dominique Legros told Infectious Disease News.

He listed the weapons against cholera that the GTFCC will use.

“Access to safe water, sanitation, hygiene and oral cholera vaccines are the tools that will be employed in implementing the roadmap,” Legros said. “Intersectional coordination is key for successful implementation, as is surveillance and lab capacity.”

Two oral cholera vaccines approved by WHO are also available. At a cost of $6, vaccination will protect individuals against cholera infection for up to 3 years, according to WHO.

The GTFCC will watch for conditions that increase the risk of outbreaks, Legros said, adding that it includes “keeping a close eye on natural and manmade disasters and changing seasons.”

Legros emphasized the importance of a rapid response to contain outbreaks.

“Cholera thrives in areas with poor infrastructure, including areas affected by conflict and other disasters,” he said. “We must be responsive and act quickly. Once outbreaks get out of the box, they become very difficult to control, particularly in those settings. But a lot can be done, even in those settings, including vaccination campaigns.” – by Joe Green

Disclosures: Ghebreyesus and Legros are both employed by WHO.