Unicef appeals for funding to respond to cholera outbreak in 11 African nations

Nairobi, March 29 (IANS) The Unicef has appealed for $171 million to respond to the rise in cholera cases in 11 countries in eastern and southern Africa.

It said 28 million people are in need in Malawi, Mozambique, Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Zambia, South Sudan, Burundi, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, reports Xinhua news agency.

“To respond to the increasing needs of children and families in the region impacted by cholera, Unicef is urgently calling for funding of $171 million,” the UN body said in a statement.

The Unicef said the funds will be used to provide lifesaving water, sanitation and hygiene, health, risk communication, nutrition, child protection, and education services to women and children affected by the outbreak.

The 11 countries are experiencing an extremely worrying cholera outbreak with 67,822 cases and 1,788 estimated deaths, noting that actual figures are likely higher as limitations in surveillance systems, underreporting, and stigma hamper monitoring, the UN agency said.

It said it is developing individualized cholera response plans based on the unique conditions within each affected country.

According to the Unicef, the budgets for both Malawi and Mozambique include requirements to address each country’s recent cyclone-related flooding, given that flooding is a priority compounding risk to the spread of cholera.

In February, the WHO Regional Office for Africa warned that if the current fast-rising trend of cholera continues, this year’s infections could surpass the number of cases recorded in 2021, the worst year for cholera in the continent in nearly a decade.

In 2021, 141,467 cases of cholera and 4,094 deaths were registered.

Cholera is an acute, extremely virulent infection that can spread rapidly and dehydration results in high morbidity and mortality.

The disease, however, is easily treatable.

Most people can be treated successfully through prompt administration of oral rehydration solution or intravenous fluids.



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