Rapid spread of cholera in Yemen causes changes in vaccination plan and funding focus; PQMD Member Direct Relief Shipping Cholera Treatment Kits

Cholera has infected 313,000 people and taken the lives of 1,700 in Yemen. The severe outbreak began in the spring. The outbreak’s spread outpaced vaccination efforts, causing the UN to call off a vaccination campaign announced just one month ago. Cholera, highly contagious and spread through contaminated water, causes fatal dehydration if left untreated. The rapid spread of the disease has strained Yemen’s infrastructure, already made fragile by a civil war.

In May 2017, at the Sab’een Hospital in Sana’a, Yemen, patients suffering from severe diarrhoea or cholera receive treatment. Photo: UNICEF/ Alzekri

The war between Saudi-led military coalition and Iran-backed Houthi insurgents has gone on more than two years. Humanitarian efforts have focused on nutrition programs, as the war created a widespread famine risk. Nearly three million people are believed to be malnourished and nearly 10 million are in need of urgent humanitarian need, according to UN officials. Aid organizations, already facing funding shortages, are now scrambling to shift resources from nutrition programs to the fight against cholera. The UN has asked the international community to contribute $200 million to addressing cholera.

Direct Relief is shipping cholera treatment kits to Yemen. The kits include over 50 items to treat and prevent cholera. Kits include antibiotics, personal protective gear, water purification tablets, basic monitoring equipment, and rehydration salts and supplies. Each Direct Relief cholera relief kit contains enough supplies to treat 100 patients.

Read more here and here.  Check out Direct Relief’s cholera treatment kit.