A new goal has been set in the fight against cholera. End cholera by 90 percent by 2030. This is the subject of a resolution among the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations (UN) and 50 other international agencies, and non-government organizations.

Cholera, caused by vibrio cholerae, usually affects communities with damaged infrastructures, where there is ongoing conflict, malnutrition, whose water source has been compromised, and with a poor health system.

Cholera presents with watery stool, vomiting and rapid dehydration, that could lead to death.

The WHO estimates that cholera has killed 95,000 people and affects 2.9 million people yearly.

"Urgent action is needed to protect communities, prevent transmission and contain outbreaks," the UN health agency said in a statement.

The Global Task Force on Cholera Control was created to oversee the goal of eradicating the disease. The task force’s plan called “Ending Cholera: A Global Roadmap to 2030,” will pool resources and share best practices and strengthen partnerships in fighting the health scourge.

The Roadmap’s emphasis is on prevention, rather than treatment.

It shall “synchronize” efforts of donors, representatives, and technical partners in preventing and responding to outbreaks. Its goal is to eliminate cholera in 20 affected countries by the target year.

"WHO is proud to be part of this new joint initiative to stop deaths from cholera. The disease takes its greatest toll on the poor and the vulnerable, this is quite unacceptable. This roadmap is the best way we have to bring this to an end," said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director General.

In areas with improvements in water sanitation and hygiene, the WHO noted, no cholera has been recoded for several decades, such as in Europe and North America.

But worldwide, over two billion people still lacked access to safe water and proper hygiene. The risk for outbreak is further worsened by a weak health system, low detection and rapid spread.

Death from cholera can be prevented, primarily through oral cholera vaccine and improved sanitation and access to safe water. WHO noted that the vaccine can provide protection for up to three years.

In the Philippines, the Department of Health (DOH) has advised the public to chlorinate their water, boil water, wash and cook food properly, keep supplies away from insects and pests that could contaminate food, as cholera is contracted through ingestion of contaminated food items or drinks by infected human waste. MIMS

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