The Beginning of the End for Cholera in Africa
Chima John Ohuabunwo1, Christine Kihembo1,&, Allan Mwesiga1
1African Field Epidemiology Network, Kampala, Uganda
Christine Kihembo, African Field Epidemiology Network, Kampala, Uganda
Received: 28/2/19 Accepted: 14/3/19 Published: 23/4/19
CITATION: Chima John Ohuabuwo et al. The Beginning of the End for Cholera in Africa. J Interv Epidemiol Public Health. 2019 Mar;2(1)
© Chima John Ohuabunwo et al. Journal of Interventional Epidemiology and Public Health. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution International 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
The peril that is cholera continues to plague efforts towards a healthier African continent and the world through recurrent outbreaks. Over 50 percent of all globally reported cases are from Africa (1). An estimated 120,000 people die of the disease globally each year (2). Cholera has been termed “a significant cause of illness and death in many African countries” and “a persistent health problem in sub-Saharan Africa and worldwide” (3-4). The African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET) continues to work with different partners through the use of multi-faceted approaches to counter this stubborn public health problem. Though projects like AFRICHOL and AFENET LAB, strengthening surveillance, studying the feasibility of a vaccine and strengthening public health laboratory capacity have been explored as means of controlling future cholera outbreaks (5-6).
Outbreak response remains the principal means of controlling and studying cholera on the continent. AFENET member programs continue to deploy residents and alumni (through initiatives like ACoDD) to aid in surveillance and response efforts (7-8). One of the more recent examples of this is featured in this issue, namely, the Cholera outbreak response efforts in Zimbabwe (8). This issue highlights the experiences and lessons learned during the 2018 Cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe. Some of the articles featured in this issue showcase how AFENET residents and alumni can support Ministries of Health in their efforts to respond to outbreaks. They also demonstrate the benefits of a trained and coordinated public health workforce in the face of an ever present public health problem like Cholera.
Forty seven African countries have adopted “The Regional Framework for the Implementation of the Global Strategy for Cholera Prevention and Control” (9). A key aim of the framework is the reduction by 90% of the magnitude of cholera outbreaks by 2030 (9). Globally, the efforts of the Global Task Force on Cholera Control and the Global Alliance Against Cholera and other Waterborne Diseases towards the prevention and elimination of cholera mark its importance as a public health problem (10-11). The eventual elimination of Cholera will require the coordination of several aspects including epidemiological surveillance and continual research (12). AFENET is privileged to be a part of this effort to better health outcomes in Africa by ending cholera’s endemicity on the continent.