Cameroon Rolls Out Emergency Cholera Plan As Region’s Outbreak Continues

Cameroon will need approximately $4.8 million for its emergency response to the cholera outbreak, which has killed nearly 300 people in the northern part of the country, Agence France-Presse reports.

According to AFP, state radio reported yesterday that “the government’s response to the outbreak will be rolled out in two phases. The first period, from August to November, will focus on the essentials – water purification tablets, medical kits, drinking water and training health staff to treat the outbreak victims. In the second phase, from December to July 2011, the government plans to renovate 200 wells and build 50 new wells and 200 latrines” (8/26).

According to CNN, Eric Mintz – the leader of the CDC’s global water sanitation and hygiene epidemiology team, which has an office in Cameroon – said on Wednesday that more than 3,000 cases have been recorded in the country since May. “It’s a lot of cases and a lot of deaths,” Mintz said. “More deaths than should be expected under the best of conditions.”

“About 70 percent of people living in the country’s far north, bordering Nigeria and Chad and the Central African Republic, do not have access to potable water, according to a Ministry of Water and Energy official,” CNN reports. In Cameroon, “[s]anitation is also limited in the area and recent flooding has aggravated the situation. The affected area is home to some 5 million people, according to UNICEF” (8/26).

Nigeria’s health ministry said on Wednesday that a cholera outbreak that has killed more than 350 people in the country since the beginning of the year now threatens all of Nigeria, Agence France-Presse reports in another story.

“Epidemiological evidence indicates that the entire country is at risk,” according to a statement from the ministry. “Most of the outbreaks occurred in the northwest and northeast zones” of Nigeria, it said (8/25). The health ministry said it has recorded 352 deaths and more than 6,400 cases of the disease this year, the Associated Press reports.

Nigeria’s “health ministry blamed the recent outbreak on heavy seasonal rains spreading the infection across rural communities without access to proper toilet facilities. In many areas, wells remain uncovered, allowing tainted water to flow into the communities’ drinking water supplies,” the news service writes (Adigun, 8/25).

The Daily Nation also reported that health workers in parts of Kenya are “battling what is suspected to be a cholera outbreak.” In the last week, about 200 people have been admitted to hospitals with what appear to be cholera symptoms (8/25).

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