Cholera kills 1000 people in Angola

Information obtained from the Angolan Embassy in Windhoek stated that the government, World Health Organisation (WHO), M’decins Sans Fronti’res (MSF) and other NGOs were treating the outbreak as a serious emergency. While more than 1 000 people have been officially confirmed dead more than 25 000 cases of cholera have been recorded since the outbreak was first reported in February this year. According to a communiqu’ issued by WHO there were 25 266 cumulative cases of cholera and 1 034 deaths in six of the 18 provinces of the country. Between Monday and Tuesday alone over 900 new cases and seven deaths had been recorded in the six provinces. MSF has since warned that the situation could worsen. “Today we have not yet reached the peak of this epidemic. Even based on conservative estimates, the toll of this epidemic will be extremely high. The number of cases at least will double and we will try and contain the deaths. We have told the government to prepare for the worst,” Richard Veerman MSF chief in Angola told the local media. Areas most affected by the epidemic include the coastal city of Benguela and Malange Provinces. In one of MSF’s treatment centres in the capital Luanda, 240 new patients were admitted over 24 hours. Earlier this year Angolan health minister Sabastiao Veloso had said that the outbreak was under control but recent rains made the outbreak worse. According to an official at the Angolan Embassy overcrowding and poor sanitation are exacerbating the outbreak in the informal townships that are teeming with tens of thousands of people. Cholera is a waterborne disease, associated with poor sanitation and lack of access to potable water. “There are too many people living in areas where there is no water and the toilets are blocked. It’s a bad situation,” said the official. After more than a decade cholera once again broke out on February 13 this year, the last major epidemic being in 1994 with 1 163 cases and 29 deaths.

May 2006
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