Health ministers attending the 68th session of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Regional Committee for Africa this week have pledged to implement key strategies to end cholera outbreaks in the African region by 2030.
While cholera is a major global public health problem, the burden and impact of the disease is greatest in sub-Saharan Africa. Last year, more than 150,000 cholera cases, including more than 3,000 deaths, were reported in 17 countries in Africa.
At this week’s meeting, ministers adopted the Regional Framework for the Implementation of the Global Strategy for Cholera Prevention and Control. Countries adopting the framework agreed to take evidence-based actions to tackle outbreaks, including enhancing epidemiological and laboratory surveillance, improving access to timely treatment, strengthening cross-border surveillance, promoting community engagement and increasing the use of the oral cholera vaccine.
The announcement coincides with the release of new travel advice from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) regarding cholera cases in Algeria. Algerian health authorities have reported over 160 cholera cases. The ECDC said that while the risk of infection to European Union and European Economic Area countries is very low, the risk of importation of a cholera case cannot be ruled out.