Monday, August 11, 2014

Cholera surges in Cameroon

IRIN: Rains and insecurity caused by Nigerian Islamist militants are aggravating a cholera outbreak in northern Cameroon which has killed at least 75 people and infected some 1,400 others since April. Water scarcity, poor public health care and risky hygienic practices have rekindled the disease which badly hit the country between 2009 and 2011, experts say.

Population movement during the current school holidays could help spread infections to other regions of Cameroon or even to neighbouring countries, said Félicité Tchibindat, a UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) representative in Cameroon.

The first cholera case was in a Nigerian family who were among a group of refugees fleeing to Cameroon from bombings and attacks by Nigeria’s Boko Haram extremist militia in April. Scarcity of safe drinking water, open defecation and other poor hygienic habits have exacerbated the cholera cases in northern Cameroon, Tchibindat said.

More than 26,000 cholera cases have been reported in Nigeria since the start of the year, according to health authorities. “For the moment we are supporting health workers, conducting community sensitization, supplied water and cholera treatment kits. But given the insecurity, whether the community mobilizers can visit all the villages is a question we are still asking ourselves,” Tchibindat told IRIN....

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