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Yemen’s Health Minister: ‘Efforts to Address Cholera are Improving’ | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Yemen’s Minister of Public Health and Population Dr. Nasir Baoum. SPA

Riyadh- Yemen’s Minister of Public Health and Population Dr. Nasir Baoum confirmed that efforts to address the cholera epidemic in Yemen are improving, noting that the rate of recovery from the disease has amounted to 99.2 percent.

In a phone call with Asharq Al-Awsat, Baoum called on international relief organizations to distribute aid provided by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center and immediately implement the environmental sanitation projects, including the provision of drinking water, stagnant water treatment and sanitation.

The Yemeni Minister questioned the reasons behind the failure of international organizations to equipping laboratories and promoting the delivery of adequate food to those infected with cholera.

“KSRelief and Kuwaiti and UAE Relief organizations have provided free treatment; however, there is a role that international organizations must play by providing medical supplies,… equipping existing laboratories and giving incentives to field workers who fight the epidemic,” Baoum told Asharq Al-Awsat.

He pointed out that the efforts to address the  cholera epidemic are improving significantly, noting that his ministry has recorded in the past two weeks only four deaths in all governorates of Yemen.

The Yemeni Ministry of Health has raised the level of alertness at health facilities because the epidemic can spread at any time, Baoum added.

The minister said that the improvement in the recovery rate is due to the intervention of the KSRelief in cooperation with the UAE Red Crescent and the Kuwaiti Relief Organization and the cooperation of other international organizations.

He stressed that what was published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in its latest report were the cases that visit specialty clinics and reception centers only.

“More than half a million people in Yemen have been infected with cholera since the epidemic began four months ago and 1,975 people have died,” WHO said on Monday.

Each day there are more than 5,000 new cases of the waterborne disease, which causes acute diarrhea and dehydration, in the country where the health system has collapsed after more than two years of war, it said.

“The total number of suspected cholera cases in Yemen this year hit the half a million mark on Sunday, and nearly 2,000 people have died since the outbreak began to spread rapidly at the end of April,” WHO said in its statement.

“The spread of cholera has slowed significantly in some areas compared to peak levels, but the disease is still spreading fast in more recently affected districts, which are recording large numbers of cases,” it said, reporting a total of 503,484 cases.

The disease, spread by ingestion of food or water tainted with human faeces, can kill within hours if untreated. It has been largely eradicated in developed countries equipped with sanitation systems and water treatment.

Notably, Saudi Arabia, through its KSRelief, signed in early August an agreement to support WHO actions in Yemen with $33.7 million in the framework of facing the cholera epidemic in Yemen.