Somalia launches cholera vaccination
The Minister of Health of Somalia HE Dr Fauziya Abikar Nur commented on the cholera situation in Somalia, highlighting challenges and efforts, saying, “Cholera remains one of our major public health threats. We now have the means and solutions to end cholera from Somalia. We continue to work with WHO and our other partners to save lives and prevent cholera on a long-term sustainable basis.”
Since the current cholera outbreak began in January 2019, Somalia has reported 1041 cases of suspected cholera, including one related death, in 25 districts of the States located in the basins of the Jubba and Shabelle Rivers.
In 2017, the country faced one of the largest outbreaks in its history, with 78 784 cases, including 1159 deaths.
A year later, in 2018, Somalia saw a reduction in the number of reported cases of cholera and related deaths, largely due to improved disease surveillance and case management, with the reported number of cases standing at 6448, including 45 deaths. The case–fatality rate, a measure of the severity of the disease, defined as the proportion of confirmed deaths of a specified disease or condition, for Somalia dropped from 1.47% in 2017 to 0.69% in 2018. Currently, in 2019, the overall case–fatality rate from cholera in Somalia is 0.09%.
The use of OCV in combination with other proven interventions such as improving access to safe water and sanitation and improving hygiene will help in eliminating the risk of recurrent cholera outbreaks faced by the country.