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Tue Jul 29 18:49:28 SAST 2014

UN urges action against Somalia cholera

Sapa-AFP | 18 August, 2011 19:44
A malnourished and dehydrated child lies on a bed in Banadir Hospital in Mogadishu
A malnourished and dehydrated child lies on a bed in Banadir Hospital in Mogadishu August 10, 2011. The United Nations says about 3.6 million people are at risk of starvation in Somalia as well as about 12 million people across the Horn of Africa region, including in Ethiopia and Kenya.
Image by: HO / Reuters

Cases of cholera and acute diarrhoea are on the rise in southern Somalia and require a rapid response, the World Health Organisation and the UN children's agency said.

Some 4,272 cases of cholera or acute watery diarrhoea have been reported in Banadir hospital in the capital Mogadishu alone since January, the agencies said in a statement.

Cholera has also been confirmed in four southern Somalia regions of Banadir, Bay, Mudug and Lower Shabelle and the number of cases has risen, the agencies said, even if most of the cholera cases "are contained and under control".

About 75 percent of all cases of acute watery diarrhoea are among children under the age of five.

"There is no need for a child to die of diarrhoea, yet this is tragic reality for a Somali child who is acutely malnourished. It is a lethal combination," said Rozanne Chorlton, UNICEF's representative for Somalia.

"We urgently need more mobile clinics that will provide basic health care services to the many displaced and who will strengthen the reporting on new outbreaks. This is critical to our response and our ability to save lives," said Marthe Everard, WHO's Somalia representative.

The agencies have supplied 13 hospitals with medical kits containing syringes, infusions and rehydration fluids, and additional 200 kits are to be sent to southern Somalia regions in the coming weeks.

Cholera is endemic in Somalia but the last major outbreak dates back to 2007 when 67,000 cases were recorded.

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Tue Jul 29 18:49:28 SAST 2014 ::