Some 884,368 suspected cholera cases have been recorded in the
war-torn country in the past six months, including 2,184 deaths,
according to the latest figures from the World Health Organization
(WHO). The case fatality rate is now 0.25 percent.
"The number of cholera cases reported in MSF treatment centers has
significantly decreased since the peak of the outbreak. As a result,
the medical organization is closing the majority of its cholera
treatment centers or reducing their capacity," MSF said in a
statement late on Monday.
Some 567 new patients sought treatment for suspected cholera at
MSF's centers in nine governorates of Yemen during the second week
of October, down from 11,139 at the peak in the third week in June,
"Only 9 percent of patients admitted by MSF last week needed to be
hospitalized and a limited number of patients have symptoms that
correspond with the cholera case definition (acute watery diarrhea
with or without vomiting)," it said. "The remaining cases are
believed to be due to other pathogens."
Ghassan Abou Chaar, MSF head of mission in Yemen, said: "The cholera
outbreak is not over but it is no longer our medical priority in
Yemen. However, this should not eclipse the dire health situation of
millions of Yemenis who are unable to access basic primary
Civil war in Yemen has killed more than 10,000 people since it began
in March 2015. Yemen's war pits the armed Houthi movement that
controls the capital against the internationally-recognized
government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, which is backed by a
Saudi-led coalition that has launched thousands of air strikes to
restore him to power.
Cholera epidemics usually subside once the disease passes through a
population, but aid agencies say the Yemen epidemic lasted longer
and spread wider than they initially expected because of the war's
toll on health care.
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U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock said on Sunday that an aid
effort by the World Health Organization, United Nations Children’s
Fund UNICEF, the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC)
and other agencies had managed to "largely contain the devastating
cholera epidemic", but warned it could flare up again without urgent
investment in health, water and sanitation.
ICRC said last month that the humanitarian situation in Yemen is a
"catastrophe", and cholera cases could reach a million by the end of
Alexandre Faite, head of the ICRC delegation in Yemen, said at the
time that the "health sector is really on its knees in Yemen ... the
health staff is on its knees as well because they are not paid."
"Preventable illnesses and deaths are increasing in Yemen, and this
can be partly attributed to the salary crisis," MSF said, noting
that doctors, nurses and other public health workers had not been
paid in 13 months.
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Peter Graff)
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