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Humanitarians raise concern for Somalia cholera outbreak amid vaccine dose shortage: UN

Thursday March 28, 2024

UNITED NATIONS (Xinhua) -- UN humanitarians said on Wednesday they are concerned about the spread of cholera in nearly half of the 72 Somalia districts amid a severe shortage in oral vaccine doses.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said almost 4,400 cases and 54 deaths were recorded last week since the start of the year. More than 60 percent of the deaths were among children under 5.

OCHA said 1.4 million doses that the International Coordinating Group on Vaccine Provision allocated for Somalia are expected to arrive shortly.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said that the number of reported cases in Somalia is three times higher than the previous three-year average. Somalia is already among the countries most severely impacted by cholera and acute watery diarrhea.

"This outbreak is expected to spread further, including to areas where the disease has not been seen in years, during the coming rainy season, which is expected to be heavier than normal," WHO said.

OCHA said the United Nations and its humanitarian partners are working with Somalia's health authorities to step up preparation and response efforts, which aligns with a six-month plan of action that will require nearly 6 million U.S. dollars.

"Aid organizations are prepositioning cholera treatment kits and working on surveillance and case management," the office said. "They are also delivering clean water, testing water quality, and providing water treatment supplies and hygiene kits, as well as training and deploying health workers."

However, OCHA said that additional funding is urgently needed. This year's Somalia Humanitarian Response Plan is less than 10 percent funded, with just over 150 million U.S. dollars received of the nearly 1.6 billion dollars required.


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