Addis Abeba – Ethiopian Ministry of Health has requested 1.2 million cholera vaccines from the World Health Organization (WHO) to be able to control the ongoing cholera outbreak in Oromia and Somali regions, in Southeastern Ethiopia.
Since the most recent outbreak of cholera was reported in Harenabuluq Woreda, Bale zone of Oromia region, last year in August, it has spread to a total of 22 Woredas, with 18 of them being in four zones of Oromia namely, Bale, Guji, West Arsi, and East Bale, as well as four in Liben zone of Somali.
The outbreak is currently raging in 18 districts, despite the fact that it has been contained in three Woredas of Oromia and two in Somali, according to a statement by the ministry.
The ministry further said 23 temporary cholera treatment facilities have been set up in all of Woredas where the outbreak has occurred. Appropriate services are being provided by supplying the centers with medical supplies.
“Cholera vaccination has been made available and administered to at-risk populations in Somalia and Oromia” the statement added, noting that it is following up on the request of 1.2 million additional cholera vaccines.
The ministry has indicated that various efforts are being taken to prevent and control the epidemic including ongoing distribution of cholera-related materials for personal and environmental hygiene, timely distribution of medical resources, delivery of health education and professional development opportunities, immediate access to medical care, and strengthening disease screening and examination.
Last week, the further spread of Cholera outbreak to East Bale, Guji, and Borena zones of Oromia and Daawa Zone of Somali regions has increased the death toll so far to 50 people and total cholera cases registered as of 23 March to 2,276, the latest UN report said.
According to the report the total cholera caseload has doubled since the end of January 2023, and close to 3.3 million people are now at high-risk in those affected areas.
Recently medical experts’ association in Oromia had been urging on the seriousness of the cholera outbreak underlining that unless the government and all involved parties do not take immediate action, the situation will continue to worsen and lead to disastrous consequences. AS