Yemen’s Ministry of Public Health and Population has officially announced the occurrence of 8 cholera cases among population in one of the areas of Sana’a city. The stool samples of these cases were tested positive for Vibrio cholerae. The cases were admitted to Al-Sabeen Hospital in Sana’a in the first week of October and are currently receiving treatment for acute dehydration in an isolated section of the hospital.
A team from surveillance programme of the Ministry was dispatched with a WHO-supported rapid response team to Al-Nasr neighbourhood of the Sho’ob district, where the patients (mainly children) were living, to investigate the source of cholera cases, test the water sources in the area and raise awareness about cholera among the community. Visits were also paid to the nearby schools and health centres to conduct an active case finding for suspected cases in the area.
To support the management of these cases by the Ministry of Public Health and Population facilities, WHO has provided sufficient quantities of intravenous fluids and oral rehydration salts to the hospital. Furthermore, WHO is working with the Ministry to support enhancing active surveillance, improve case management, establish a joint operations room for coordination of response measures and information sharing, and establish a task force to enhance the coordination response between health partners.
While response, investigation and preventive measures are ongoing, a joint Health/WASH Cholera Task Force, comprising WHO, UNICEF, Health and WASH partners has been established to coordinate the daily work and provide support to the Ministry and the concerned authorities on an integrated cholera response plan. The response plan requires urgent funding for establishment of a cholera treatment centre in inaccessible areas, diarrhoeal disease kit distribution, training, strengthening surveillance system, environmental interventions and community awareness. “The current situation is yet another alarming indicator of the escalating humanitarian conflict-related crisis in Yemen and should alert the international community to support Yemen public health system and provide health partners with the necessary resources to contain the current transmission and prevent further spread of Vibrio cholerae to other high-risk areas in the country,” said Dr Ahmed Shadoul, the WHO Representative in Yemen.
The scarcity of clean, safe drinking-water has exacerbated the already deteriorating health situation in Yemen, causing a significant increase in acute watery diarrhoea cases, especially among internally displaced persons, now exceeding more than 3 million people across the county.