Published Date: 2011-09-02 14:30:17
Subject: PRO/EAFR> Cholera - Lake Chad basin: Chad, Cameroon, Niger, Nigeria
Archive Number: 20110902.228566
CHOLERA - LAKE CHAD BASIN: CHAD, CAMEROON, NIGER, NIGERIA
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Tue 30 Aug 2011
Source: UN Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) News [edited]
Cholera soars in Lake Chad basin countries
Cholera has killed at least 1200 people this year  in the
countries surrounding Lake Chad -- Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and
Nigeria; the illness, linked primarily to poor sanitation and lack of
potable water, has struck some 38 800 people in the region this year
and continues to spread.
A good part of the rainy season lies ahead; while some epicentres
reported cholera cases during the dry period, the rains generally
cause spikes as water sources become contaminated.
The unique Lake Chad Basin is the centre of economic activity --
commerce, fishing, farming -- for some 11 million people, according
to an August  report by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF).
Population movements for social and commercial activity are constant
between areas where sanitation is poor. All this contributes to the
explosion of cholera once infection starts, according to aid agencies
doing prevention work in the region.
That is why a regional strategy is critical, UNICEF says. "A
cross-border, decentralized approach is necessary to protect each
country's population and nip outbreaks in the bud," says Francois
Bellet, UNICEF regional water and sanitation specialist for west and
Countless families depend on commerce, fishing, and other activities
in the region; at the same time cholera seriously undermines economic
development, says the Chad government in an anti-cholera plan.
"Cholera hits families' revenue and brings recurrent health expenses
-- all of this deepens poverty and under-development."
In October 2010, health ministers of the 4 countries plus Benin
signed the Abuja Commitment, calling for better collaboration to
tackle cholera and other infectious diseases. The health ministers
acknowledge that people have inadequate access to clean water and
proper sanitation and that cross-border coordination mechanisms are
lacking, with no formal way for health districts to share disease
Last year , the Lake Chad Basin region reported 58 000 cases of
cholera, with 2300 deaths, according to UNICEF -- the most serious
outbreak since 1991. Here is a tally of how many people have been
affected this year :
- Cameroon: As of 22 Aug , 14 730 cases; 554 deaths. Lethality
rate 3.76 percent.
- Chad: As of 22 Aug , 10 314 cases; 314 deaths. Lethality rate
- Niger: As of 8 Aug , 976 cases; 25 deaths. Lethality rate 2.5 percent.
- Nigeria: As of 1 Aug , 12 840 cases; 318 deaths. Lethality
rate 2.5 percent.
[The Lake Chad basin is currently experiencing an outbreak of cholera
that has spread to the 4 countries in the region. The outbreak
highlights the need to improve in-country capacities for epidemic
preparedness and response as well as regional mechanisms for
preventing cross-border spread to improve public health security in
the region. These issues are highlighted in the Abuja commitment and
need to be followed up with real interventions to improve the
livelihoods of the people living in the Lake Chad basin.
A map of the Lake Chad basin can be seen at
HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map showing the countries in the
region can be seen athttp://healthmap.org/r/1cP0. - Mod.JFW]