The UN humanitarian agency said Monday it will provide an additional 2 million U.S. dollars to step against cholera outbreak in southern and central Somalia.
The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the funds from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) will be provided to help contain a major spike in cases of acute watery diarrhoea (AWD) and cholera in southern and central Somalia, terming it a serious concern.
“At present, health and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) supplies to cover an estimated caseload of 500 severe and 12,000 moderate cases are being distributed,” OCHA said in its Humanitarian Bulletin released on Monday.
Over 7,000 AWD/cholera cases have been reported in the first quarter of 2016, a significant increase from the 5,257 cases reported in all of 2015.
“The data collected from 247 routine sentinel surveillance health facilities indicates that more than half were children under the age of five,” OCHA said.
According to UN, projections of 15,000 severe and 60,000 moderate cases over the coming months have led to plans for a significant and rapid scale up of the response.
“To help stabilize and contain the outbreak, the CERF rapid response grant of 2 million dollars will strengthen and complement response activities already underway by WASH and Health partners,” it said.
This, OCHA said, is in addition to an earlier reserve allocation of 600,000 dollars from the Somalia Humanitarian Fund (SHF) for the response to AWD/cholera outbreak in Kismayo.
Of the 300 deaths reported, 40 percent were among children under five. Banadir, Bay, Hiraan, Lower Juba, Lower Shabelle, Middle Juba and Middle Shabelle are the most affected regions.
There have also been cases of AWD/cholera and related deaths in neighbouring Bu’uale, Jilib, and Saakow districts. It is likely that there could be under-reporting since many areas are inaccessible to reporting systems and partners, and many do not have the resources to travel and seek treatment at health facilities.
According to OCHA, so far, over 17,000 hygiene kits have been distributed to the affected areas by WASH partners, while 50,000 hygiene kits have been prepositioned.
“Hygiene promotion activities are being conducted in some affected districts by WASH partners with the added support of education partners, whose training material will be included in education activities when schools reopen,” it said.