There are now 5,000 suspected cholera cases reported daily, and the Yemen health crisis has breached the 500,000 mark, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Currently the largest crisis in the world, an estimated 5,000 have died due to the disease. Cholera can cause severe watery diarrhoea that can lead to dehydration and death, if left untreated.

The United Nations and other international aid organizations have noted the scale and the rate at which the disease is spreading and admitted it was shocking.

Poor sanitation, crowding, war, and famine make it Yemenis vulnerable to getting infected, and unless conditions are addressed, cholera will easily spread among villages.

In its update report, WHO noted that while the overall caseload has declined in the worst affected areas and that the spread of cholera has slowed, the disease continues to rage across the country.

“The disease is still spreading fast in more recently affected districts, which are recording large numbers of cases,” the UN health organization said in a statement.

The cholera crisis is primarily brought about by a civil war which has resulted in many Yemenis drinking contaminated water.

Half of the country’s medical facilities are non-functioning and medical intervention is delayed due to unpaid government employees, according to ABC News.

Some 30,000 health workers have not been paid, causing the collapse of the health system is collapsing, and further aggravated by a chronic shortage in medicines and supplies. 

WHO underscored the need to sustain the health workforce. “Yemen’s health workers are operating in impossible conditions. Thousands of people are sick, but there are not enough hospitals, not enough medicines, not enough clean water. These doctors and nurses are the backbone of the health response - without them we can do nothing in Yemen. They must be paid their wages so that they  can continue to save lives,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

As a response, the health organization and partner agencies have set up cholera treatment clinics, rehabilitative health facilities and support for national response effort. Nearly all patients who accessed cholera treatment recovered.

Cholera symptoms include rapid heart rate, loss of skin elasticity, dry mucous membrane, and low blood pressure.

Dr Tedros said, “The people of Yemen cannot bear it longer - they need peace to rebuild their lives and their country.” MIMS

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