Dear Excellencies, Delegation Leaders, Colleagues, and Friends, It’s a privilege to be here with you today.
I appreciate the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Society organizing this event, as well as the Global Working Group on Cholera Control’s Country Support Platform.
Despite the fact that cholera was eradicated from of the global north and over 150 years ago, the global south continues to be plagued by the disease.
Cholera is an inequitable disease. It mostly affects people who live in communities with insufficient water, sanitation, and hygiene, as well as those who have been relocated.
But, thanks to the Global Response Team on Cholera Control’s efforts, we can look forward to some remarkable achievements.
Cameroon, Bangladesh, Nepal, Ethiopia, Niger, and Nigeria all effectively responded to cholera epidemics last year.
Despite the pandemic, humanitarian disasters, and natural catastrophes, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Malawi, Uganda, Yemen, and Zambia all ran oral cholera vaccination prevention campaigns.
South Sudan, Nigeria, Bangladesh, and Ethiopia all aim to relaunch prevention initiatives this year.
In addition, we are commemorating three years of cholera-free status in Haiti, thanks to the work of several partners present here to improve surveillance.
Ethiopia and Kenya have joined the list of nations with national cholera plans, while other countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, and Zambia are either developing or modifying their plans.
Cases and deaths have decreased in recent years as a result of these efforts, but early figures for 2021 show a dramatic rise in the amount of cholera-related casualties, with an overall case fatality rate of 3%.
Large cholera epidemics occurred in 20 countries last year, especially in West Africa and Asia. Some countries have been hit by the deadliest epidemic in decades.
With at least 14 nations witnessing new cholera outbreaks in 2022, the pattern is very concerning.
This is why the Global Working Group on Cholera Control’s work is so critical.
I appreciate the task force’s and all of the partners’ unwavering dedication.
The outbreaks I mentioned were mostly contained as a result of your efforts, which were backed up by national authorities.
However, we are depleting limited stock of oral cholera vaccine and other consumables with each outbreak response.
This is placing enormous strain on resource base as well as the health systems of the countries affected.
We have a route ahead due to the International Task Force and the bold leadership of cholera-affected countries.
This approach necessitates cross-sector action and effective use of the tools at hand.
The COVID-19 epidemic has demonstrated the importance of a coordinated response to a common threat. That’s what we’ll need to put an end to cholera.
We appreciate all of the Task Force’s partners, both those who are present and those who are not. It would be impossible to make headway in cholera control without you.
We must not slacken our pace; instead, we must increase our combined efforts.
Let me left you with three areas in which you must focus now in order to help end this preventable killer:
First and foremost, I implore all partners and donors to contribute both technically and financially to the planning and application of national cholera programs.
Second, I encourage governments and partners to invest in expanding access to life-saving equipment, improving surveillance, and fully involving people in prevention and response operations.
Third, I encourage governments and allies to engage in water, sewage, and hygiene infrastructure, especially in healthcare facilities and in disadvantaged areas.
Finally, I am delighted to announce that Zambia’s President, His Excellency Hakainde Hichilema, has consented becoming a cholera eradication champion.
We appreciate His Excellency the President’s leadership on this critical public health problem, and we hope to hear from him through video address in the near future.
I met michael a few weeks earlier, and I was blown away by his dedication. That’s the kind of vision we need in the fight against cholera. I am confident that we will make real progress with both the political will and commitment you will mobilize. Political intervention, as the adage goes, is surgical intervention.
I appreciate His Lordship the President once again for deciding to be my champion.
Thank you everyone again for your unwavering commitment to cholera eradication. WHO is honored to collaborate with you. We can put a stop to cholera if we work together.