Angola: cholera cases slashed, WHO

Angola has slashed the incidence of cholera so far this year, despite major flooding that normally heightens the risk of the water-borne disease, World Health Organization data showed. In the first five months of 2008, the WHO detected 7,740 cases of cholera with 198 fatalities in Angola. But in the same period this year, the WHO has only recorded 681 cases and three deaths, with only five of Angola’s 18 provinces affected. The WHO credited the drop to community education and improved sanitation.

[…] The data covers only cases recorded at hospitals, excluding many patients who never receive treatment, said Karen Hvid, the Angola representative of the International Federation of the Red Cross. “There are many communities which don’t have easy access to hospitals, but these figures certainly show a decrease,” she told AFP. “This is a remarkable improvement. Basic community education by the Ministry of Health, the Red Cross and others in partnership has played a key role in raising awareness about preventing cholera.”

Cholera is most prevalent in Angola between January and mid-May during the rainy season, when stagnant water gathers in communities, particularly urban slum areas with little or no drainage and poor sanitation.

Source: AFP / The Citizen, 18 May 2009

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