WHO Requires US $10.2 Million to Respond to the Rapid Cholera Outbreak in Lebanon
Cairo—Beirut: As of 3 November 2022, the country has reported 2,421 suspected cases, including 413 confirmed cases and 18 associated deaths. The outbreak continues to spread to new communities every day as a result of contaminated water at source, community, and household levels.
“Lebanon is vulnerable to cholera, and this is being aggravated by prolonged economic conditions and scarce access to clean water and proper sanitation services across the country," says Dr. Abdinasir Abubakar, WHO Representative in Lebanon. “We need to concert efforts to ensure people have just access to health services, clean water, and sanitation and educate them on how to deal with cholera if any gets infected.”
The healthcare system in Lebanon is already strained to current economic and social crises, and the cholera outbreak may overwhelm the already fragile health system in the country. There are many challenges in responding to the cholera outbreak, and WHO and other partners are making extra efforts to overcome these challenges in order to prevent further spread and control the outbreak in a timely manner. WHO’s priority is to limit the spread and transmission of the cholera outbreak while minimizing the morbidity and mortality associated with cholera through good quality healthcare services
The focus of WHO’s response to the cholera outbreak is to:
- ensure efficient and effective multisectoral national and subnational coordination mechanisms to manage the cholera outbreak response
- enhance timely epidemiological detection, confirmation, and investigation of cholera
- strengthen laboratory capacity for the rapid diagnosis
- increase access to treatment for suspected cholera patients and strengthen the capacity to manage cases at different levels of infection
- ensure access to vaccination, especially for high-risk populations
- support lifesaving WASH prevention and response measures
- work on procurement, and delivery of essential supplies and equipment
- strengthen risk communication and community engagement and provide key messages to vulnerable communities on prevention
Since the first case was detected, WHO has been effectively working with partners and the Ministry of Public Health to reduce avoidable morbidity and mortality, to contain transmission of the disease in affected areas, and to mitigate the risk that the outbreak spreads to other areas.