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Conflict Allowing Cholera’s Continued Spread In Yemen, Into Other Countries

Fortune: Cholera Is Slaughtering Yemen and We’re Letting It Happen
Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations

“…This is the worst cholera epidemic in modern history, and it has already spread well beyond the borders of Yemen … Confronting this catastrophe commands honesty: Cholera is now rampant not only in Yemen, but South Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, and in refugee camps across the Middle East. … The horrible irony is that cholera is spreading primarily because Saudi Arabia and its Gulf state allies have been bombing Yemen’s infrastructure to smithereens for months, rendering every water supply contaminated. The reluctance of Ethiopia and other cholera-afflicted nations to truthfully state their health plights is due to the same countries’ — Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies — policies of boycotting all trade and food from nations that admit to having the disease. … There is, of course, a vaccine for cholera, and the U.N. system geared up after the Fourth of July to vaccinate a half-million Yemenis in a heroic mass immunization campaign. … But on July 13 the WHO canceled vaccine shipments. The Saudis had refused to guarantee a ceasefire, which would have allowed the U.N. safe passage and a few days’ window of immunization possibility. So here we are, in the 21st century, haplessly watching an ancient scourge slaughter innocents and spread inexorably across a region untouched by modern science and public health. Shame on all of us” (7/20).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.