International Community Must Continue To Work To Maintain Progress Against Cholera

Project Syndicate: Maintaining the Momentum Against Cholera
Anita Zaidi, director of vaccine development, surveillance, and enteric and diarrheal diseases programs at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…[I]n the past 18 months, the world has made significant strides in the fight against cholera. … It is possible that historians will remember 2019 as the beginning of the end of cholera, but much depends on our efforts in the next few years. For starters, global health donors must step up to ensure that [Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance] is fully funded in the next strategic investment period (2021-2025). This support is critical not only for ending cholera, but also for achieving all of our health-related goals. The routine immunization that Gavi provides is essential to building strong primary health care systems and reaching universal coverage. Second, cholera-affected countries must … [work] with the World Health Organization on a cholera control plan to help governments unlock resources and receive technical assistance, including the oral cholera vaccine. … There is much more to be done, including making major investments in sustainable water, sanitation, hygiene services, improved disease surveillance, and stronger health systems. Fortunately, the return on these investments will be immense. We can both eliminate cholera and make progress toward managing or eliminating a wide range of waterborne diseases, all of which is necessary for meeting the Sustainable Development Goals. Where one lives should not determine whether one lives. But until we eliminate cholera deaths, that will be the tragic reality facing vulnerable communities across the Global South” (6/4).

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