UNICEF calls for Interagency Support to Combat Cholera Outbreak

1409 Views Kampala, Uganda
The United Nations children's fund (UNICEF) has said that an interagency response to contain separate cholera outbreaks in two conflict-affected districts of northern Uganda is contributing to a reduction in cases, but that more could be done in the area of prevention. Health authorities in Kitgum District have reported approximately 830 cholera cases and 11 cholera-related deaths since the start of the latest outbreak 10 weeks ago, while 22 cases and no deaths have been reported in Pader District in the past five weeks. According to a UNICEF press statement, UNICEF, the World Health Organization and humanitarian non-governmental organizations in the two districts have been supporting Uganda's Ministry of Health to manage 10 treatment centres, install pit latrines and water points, treat household water containers and promote awareness on cholera prevention in the camps for internally-displaced people (IDPs). UNICEF has committed 420,000 dollars in technical, material and financial assistance to implement these and other activities since April. The UNICEF Representative in Uganda Martin Mogwanja says that while the emergency response was yielding results, there was a need to tackle the more fundamental and longer-term issues. He notes that the acute shortfall in the provision of water and sanitation services in the IDP camps, as well as conditions of overcrowding, provide a perfect breeding ground for cholera, particularly with the onset of seasonal rains. Mogwanja says that through stronger community prevention and response activities, and through continued improvements in humanitarian service provision, the Government and its partners must heighten their collective effort to address cholera, which accounts for a large portion of poor health in communities. In its Report on the Situation of Children and Women in Uganda, launched nationally last week, UNICEF said that at least 40 per cent of children in Kitgum and 60 per cent in Pader Districts were living in households with no protected source of drinking water; while 60 per cent of children in Kitgum and more than 80 per cent in Pader were in households without toilet facilities of any kind.


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