Cholera outbreak in Yemen: Statement of Dr. Luay Shabaneh, Arab Region UNFPA Director
Cairo, 28 May 2017 – I am deeply concerned by the confirmed news of the rise of cholera in Yemen, which comes as a possibly fatal addition to the hardships that Yemeni men and women have been facing due to the conflict, displacement and malnutrition. With some 2000 suspected cases reported daily, the recent and unprecedented cholera outbreak in Yemen threatens the lives of 1.1 million malnourished pregnant women, who need immediate care and reproductive health services.
Malnourished pregnant and lactating women are more likely to contract cholera and have a higher risk of bleeding, developing complications and death during childbirth. The conflict raging through Yemen has severely weakened the health system and hampered the access of people to medical services, with only 35 percent of reproductive health facilities currently functioning in the country.
Women can play a critical role in controlling its spread if they can ensure a certain level of hygiene, particularly when they prepare food for the family as cholera, which is a diarrheal infection, can be easily spread through contaminated food or water UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, in response to the cholera outbreak, has stepped up its distribution of dignity kits containing hygiene items that, in this case, can help prevent cholera spread, including soap, and is continuing to increase the availability and access to reproductive health services across the country.