WHO requires $10.2 million to respond to the rapid cholera outbreak in Lebanon

November 06, 2022
UNICEF staff conduct hygiene awareness sessions to communities in Lebanon to help stop the transmission of cholera. — courtesy UNICEF/Fouad Choufany
UNICEF staff conduct hygiene awareness sessions to communities in Lebanon to help stop the transmission of cholera. — courtesy UNICEF/Fouad Choufany

GENEVA — The World Health Organization (WHO) requires $10.2 million for the health-related response to the ongoing cholera outbreak in Lebanon.

The outbreak is spreading rapidly across the 8 governorates and across 18 out of 26 districts. As of Nov. 4, a total of 2,524 suspected cholera cases (out of which 416 are laboratory confirmed) have been reported along with a total of 18 associated deaths, resulting in a case fatality ratio of less than 0.8%.

The outbreak continues to spread to new communities every day as a result of contaminated water at source, community and household levels.

About 45% of suspected and confirmed cases are less than 15 years of age, 15% are between 15 and 24 years of age, 21% are between 25 to 44 years of age with the rest distributed across remaining age groups.

Overall, 88% of suspected and confirmed cases who presented to a health facility have exhibited symptoms. Up to 18% of suspected and confirmed cases have required hospitalization.

Across the country, 94 beds are currently occupied for cholera treatment. The majority of cases continue to be predominantly reported from Akkar and the North, and to a lesser extent from Mount Lebanon, Bekaa, and Baalbek-Hermel.

“Lebanon is vulnerable to cholera, and this is being aggravated by the prolonged economic situation and scarce access to clean water and proper sanitation services across the country,” said Dr. Abdinasir Abubakar, WHO representative in Lebanon.

“We need concerted efforts to ensure that people have access to health services, clean water and sanitation, and to educate them on how to deal with cholera if anyone becomes infected.”

The health care system in Lebanon is already strained due to the 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 in order to control the outbreak in a timely manner.

WHO’s priority is to limit the spread of the cholera outbreak, while minimizing the morbidity and mortality associated with cholera through good quality health care.

Since the first case was detected, WHO has been effectively working the Ministry of Public Health and its partners to reduce avoidable morbidity and mortality, contain transmission of the disease in affected areas and mitigate the risk that the outbreak spreads to other areas. — Agencies

November 06, 2022
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