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Cholera is on the rise with an estimated 1.4 billion people at risk in endemic countries and an estimated 3 million to 5 million cases and 100,000-120,000 deaths per year worldwide. In many endemic countries, children under 5 account for more than half of the global incidence and deaths. Cholera has remained endemic in some Asian countries for centuries, has become endemic in an increasing number of African countries with epidemics throughout the years, and has recently returned to the Americas with on-going transmission in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. New, more virulent and drug-resistant strains of Vibrio cholerae continue to emerge, and the frequency of large protracted outbreaks with high case fatality ratios has increased, reflecting the lack of early detection, prevention and access to timely
health care. 

These trends are concerning, signal a growing public health emergency and have gained the interest and investment of UNICEF at all levels. 

  Cholera Infographic
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Cholera Infographic_PDF

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UNICEF plays a role in prevention, preparedness and response

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© UNICEF/HTIA2011-00113/Dormino

UNICEF currently provides strategic technical support and guidance including the UNICEF Cholera Toolkit (available in English and French), surge capacity, training, supplies and logistical support for cholera and diarrhoeal disease outbreak prevention, preparedness and response worldwide. UNICEF supports governments, the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners in the following areas: advocacy, coordination, assessments, planning and prioritization, surveillance, early warning systems and alert mechanisms, service delivery and communication. In addition, UNICEF supports the appropriate use of the oral cholera vaccine (OCV) with other priority cholera control interventions and has been a key partner in the development of the Global OCV Stockpile.

Integrated cross-sectoral approach to cholera 

To reduce the risks from cholera, including limiting the spread of outbreaks and preventing deaths, UNICEF applies an integrated approach with collaboration across health, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), nutrition, education, protection and other sectors as well as services for communication, emergency operations and supply management– offering the possibility of an integrated effort towards risk reduction, preparedness, capacity building and response in cholera and diarrhoeal disease outbreaks.


Advocacy video from the UNICEF Health and WASH Section Chiefs  




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