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Regional cholera update: Few gains, more work needed to counter growing epidemic

Students in Inyima Village, Southern Cross River State, Nigeria, learn proper hygiene practices during a meeting of the environmental health club run by Albert Ach (standing). The children share what they learn from Mr. Ach with their families and peers.

DAKAR, Senegal – In the first 10 months of 2011, reported cholera cases in West and Central Africa (WCA) were at over 85,000, with over 2,500 deaths and an average case fatality rate of 2.9 per cent. This is one of the worst cholera epidemics in the region’s history.

The most significant increases during 2011 were in Chad, Cameroon and the western region of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). A reduction was reported in Nigeria, which accounted for more than 50 per cent of the cases during the Lake Chad Basin outbreak in 2010. However, Nigeria continues to face challenges with access, staff presence in medical facilities and surveillance systems in parts of the North-East.

There are three major cross-border cholera epidemic outbreaks in the WCA region: the Lake Chad Basin (Chad, Cameroun, Nigeria and Niger), the West Congo Basin (DRC, Congo and Central African Republic) and Lake Tanganyika (DRC and Burundi). The smaller cholera epidemics in Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia and Togo are under control.

UNICEF WCA regional office supports governments and partners in carrying out high impact interventions to prevent and respond to cholera outbreaks. A cholera response typically consists of an epidemiological analysis for improved targeting, the selection of appropriate strategies, and the ongoing monitoring and adjustment of interventions.



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