The United Nations is warning that people in countries bordering northern Cameroon are at risk of contracting cholera, a water-borne disease. Already over 2,000 cases have been confirmed in the north of the country, with more than 300 reported dead.
Dr. Claire-Lise Chaignat is head of the WHO Global Task Force on Cholera.
“This is an issue of concern to the WHO because we know that the area affected is in a very remote location, where the infrastructure is not excellent and where access to water and proper sanitation [are] very limited for the affected population.”
Dr. Chaignat says the best strategy for the WHO is to try to limit the spread of the disease.
“The best prevention is to improve access to safe drinking water and proper sanitation, and this is exactly the big challenge in this part of the country, where we have… a population that is having a semi-nomadic lifestyle, where the hygiene perception is not the same as it is in our countries and in our part of the world,” said Chaignat.
She says health authorities in the affected countries are working with the agency to ensure relief to those already infected while making sure that the rest of the population is protected.
“The health authorities are very active; in fact they are doing health education [and] providing adequate supplies to treat cases and patients, and they also provide chlorine to make sure that the water the population is consuming is safe,” said Chaignat.