In Angola, the number of daily cases of cholera has declined, but the World Health Organization is not ready to say the outbreak is near an end.
Clairlise Changnat is in charge of the Global Taskforce on Cholera Control at the World Health Organization. From Geneva, she gave English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua an update on the cholera outbreak in Angola.
“The daily instance is still maintained at around 300 news cases every day, what is still an important number of cases, but not as much as it was during the peak of the epidemic. Now we have overall 40,842 cases and 1,527 deaths over a period of three months.”
Asked whether the decline is due to the natural progression of the disease or efforts of the WHO, NGOs and the government, Changnat says, “The reasons are multifold. Of course, the response activities are very important and certainly now after three months of response of course there is some positive effect on that. But on the other hand, we know that there are climatic conditions. And we know that the rain has diminished and that this is also contributing to diminishing the incidence.”
Nevertheless, 13 of the country’s 18 provinces are affected. How does the current outbreak compared to an earlier outbreak in Angola? The WHO official says, “It you compare it to what happened in Angola in ’87, ’88, ’89, we had over a three-year span about 49,000 cases in total…and now we have already in three months time more than 40,000 cases. It’s a very huge epidemic. It’s an important epidemic and we are very much concerned about that."