16 dead in cholera outbreak

Cholera outbreaks, which are endemic in Somalia, have been reported in many parts of the country, and at least 16 lives have been claimed.

A press statement by the Somali Aid Coordination Body (SACB), a grouping of UN agencies, NGOs and donors, noted that cholera normally surges from December to May in any given year. This year, the onset of the cholera season did not start until March. Thirty-six cases and two deaths have been reported from the capital Mogadishu, 56 cases and nine deaths from Middle Juba and 25 cases and five deaths from Lower Shabelle, the statement said. All these areas are in southern Somalia.

According to the statement, the SACB partners responded with prompt assessment and medical supplies to support local cholera control and treatment activities, reducing further transmission of the disease.

In Mogadishu - which accounts for over 70 percent of all cases in Somalia - the World Health Organisation (WHO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), Action Contre la Faim (ACF), Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) and the Somali Red Crescent Society with support from the International Committee of the Red Cross have formed a regional task force. Chlorination activities are ongoing, with cholera treatment centres and dispensing facilities for oral rehydration solutions established across the city, the statement said.

It added that in order to control cholera outbreaks at community level, the SACB members had already implemented regional cholera preparedness and control plans.