Saturday, May 20, 2017 — Responding to the WHO announcement that the number of suspected cases of cholera in Yemen has more than doubled in the past five days the international medical organisation Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) warns that the outbreak is threatening to get out of control and calls for an urgent response.
Ghassan Abou Chaar, MSF’s Head of Mission in Yemen, says:
“The fast spread of the current outbreak is extremely alarming. Before this outbreak the health system was already overstretched and people’s health needs were huge.
"Efforts to treat patients are being hampered by staff shortages. Medical staff in Yemen have received no salaries since September 2016 and many have had to find other types of work to support their families. Insecurity is also making it difficult for aid organisations to reach some of the affected areas.
"If the outbreak is to be brought under control it won’t be enough to simply treat people who can reach medical facilities. There is an urgent need to address the source and causes of the disease, by improving water and sanitation and working in communities to prevent new cases."
MSF teams have treated 3,092 patients in 4 cholera treatment centres and 9 cholera treatment units in the governorates of Amran, Houdaydah, Hajja, Al Dhale, Taiz and Ibb. They are expecting a delivery of more than 63 tons of supplies to arrive in Yemen in the coming days.
MSF calls for imports of medical supplies into Yemen to be facilitated, and for Yemeni medical staff to be paid incentives so that they can carry out their work.
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