icddr,b responds to the world’s worst cholera outbreak in Yemen

Dhaka, 05 October, 2017 - icddr,b  hosts a group of  physicians and nurses from war-torn Yemen who are  currently battling a countrywide cholera outbreak, with nearly six hundred thousand people affected by the disease. The visiting Yemeni medical team are here to receive expert training on cholera management at icddr,b’s Dhaka Hospital, made possible by Kuwaiti sponsorship. 

According to WHO, during August 2017 alone, Yemen’s Ministry of Public Health and Population reported a total of 152,216 cholera cases including 117 associated deaths. The lack of infrastructure in the country coupled with the current humanitarian crisis has created ideal conditions for the disease to flourish. The total number of reported cases of cholera is a staggering 595,382, including 2 038 related deaths.

Afflicted by droughts and a lack of water, Yemen is considered to be among the most water-stressed countries in the world.  Violence in the country has displaced millions, who are now living with inadequate shelter, water, sanitation, and food. Approximately half of all health sector facilities, including hospitals and clinics have been destroyed since the conflict escalated in 2016.

The United Nations has said that Yemen represents the ‘world’s largest humanitarian crisis’.  Responding to this crisis, a Kuwaiti philanthropy, the Kuwaiti Women Philanthropic Team is providing funding for icddr,b to share its expert knowledge in tackling cholera outbreaks.

Madam Laila Abdullah Thounayan Alghanim of Kuwaiti Women Philanthropic Team said, ‘As a network of concerned citizens, we want to contribute to the response to this health emergency which is tearing through a part of our region. We chose icddr,b because it is an international organisation  with an unparalleled history of  responding to cholera outbreaks globally.’

The philanthropic network is covering the costs of training 17 Yemeni doctors and nurses at icddr,b in Dhaka, Bangladesh where they will  receive hands-on training in cholera management at icddr,b’s Dhaka Hospital – the world’s largest diarrhoeal disease treatment facility.  The Yemeni health workers will be trained in outbreak control and prevention, surveillance methods, case management, and awareness on waste management and sanitation systems.

As a founding member of Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN), which was established in 2000, icddr,b has been deploying experts in the fields of  epidemiology, medicine and emergency disease outbreak management to assist WHO and governments internationally. In 2016 alone, icddr,b sent teams to assist in the control of cholera outbreaks in Sudan, Iraq, Syria and Ethiopia.

Mr Syed Monjurul Islam, Deputy Executive Director of icddr,b said ‘icddr,b has become increasingly concerned  about cholera in Yemen. We are thankful to the Kuwaiti Women Philanthropic Team and other stakeholders including Yemen’s Ministry of Public Health and Population for extending their support to this humanitarian mission and making it happen.’

Starting today the training programme will continue until October 12, 2017.