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UNICEF empowers Cholera Rapid Response Teams to strengthen communities’ role in outbreak prevention and response in Yemen

Members of the RRTs during the training delivered with the support of UNICEF and KSrelief in October 2018 in Ibb Governorate, Yemen.

Ibb, Yemen, 22 November 2018 – The support of the communities is crucial in the fight against cholera and for this reason, UNICEF, in close cooperation with national authorities, local and external partners, pursues its efforts to empower communities and to build their capacity to better prevent and respond to epidemic diseases, such as Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD)/cholera, in affected areas across Yemen.

Last month, more than 25 Rapid Response Teams’ (RRTs) staff members were trained in Ibb by UNICEF Water, Hygiene and Sanitation (WASH) and Communication for Development (C4D) teams, in cooperation with the Ministry of Water and Environment. Ibb is one of the governorates heavily affected by cholera in Yemen, with 20,000 suspected cases reported since the beginning of the year and 70 associated deaths (as of 28 October 2018).

The RRTs act as first-line cholera response in Yemen. Interventions undertaken by RRTs included awareness raising about cholera transmission and prevention, water treatment and disinfection at household level, including water storage and provision of consumable hygiene kits. This emergency response helps to prevent cholera from spreading and to eliminate the source of infection in targeted areas by assessing access to WASH services, investigating risk sources and working with affected communities to identify the urgent interventions needed. This methodology strengthens community resilience and ensures appropriate community involvement in designing and delivering essential WASH services and construction of facilities.

A female RRT staff member during a hygiene promotion session with vulnerable communities.

During the two-day training, RRTs staff gained skills on community outreach and engagement strategies and tools, water, sanitation and hygiene best practices (handwashing with soap, food storage and cooking), WASH concept and assessment tools to prevent and treat suspected cholera cases. This training took part in the framework of a country-wide capacity building programme implemented by UNICEF, during which 85 RRTs members have been certified as national trainers in Sana’a and Aden, to be able to pass on their skills and knowledge to 882 RRTs staff in all the governorates across Yemen.

A trainer conducting a group session with RRTs staff on communication for cholera and hygiene promotion during the training organsised in Ibb last month.

Thanks to the training, the RRTs are able to better interact with communities at household level and provide them with accurate information on hygiene promotion, timely care seeking with suspected cholera cases and the adoption of positive practices to ensure children and their families are safe and protected from cholera.

A RRT staff adding chlorine into the water reservoir in order to eliminate cholera in the targeted area supported by UNICEF.

At present, UNICEF supports over 1,000 Rapid Response Teams with cholera response in 21 cholera-affected governorates in the country, in partnership with the Emergency Unit in the General Authority for Rural Water Supply Projects (GARWSP) as a responsible government body in addition to number of local NGOs.

This activity has been implemented thanks to the support of our partner, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief), as part of a project contributing to the National Cholera Response Plan and focusing on containing the ongoing outbreak in 13 priority districts in Ibb, Taiz, Amran, Dhamar, Sana’a, Al Dhale’e, Aden, Al Mahwet and Amanat Al Asimah (Sana’a city) governorates.

The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief), is contributing to UNICEF emergency and humanitarian interventions in Yemen since 2015, responding to a wide range of urgent needs of children affected by the conflict. KSrelief is funding several projects targeting treatment for malnutrition and childhood diseases, health (immunization, vaccination, care of pregnant and lactating women), child protection and psychosocial support to conflict-affected children, provision of improved water and sanitation services, as well as response to cholera.



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