News: New cross-border Cholera outbreak kills five in Moyale town, vicinity areas

Cholera Treatment Center (CTC) at Moyale town (Picture: Boru Huka)

By Medihane Ekubamichael @Medihane

Addis Abeba – A new cholera outbreak since the last two weeks has so far claimed the lives of five people in Moyale town, in the Ethio-Kenyan border.

Borena Zone, Moyale town Health Office Head, Boru Huka confirmed to Addis Standard the death of the five people from the outbreak so far; two of them died in the Cholera Treatment Center (CTC) at Moyale town, while the three others were reported to have died dead before reaching the CTC.

According to Boru, the case has been rising with up 15 cases per day. The number of confirmed cases has now reached of 50 and the patients are receiving isolated treatment at the CTC.

Boru said that the cholera outbreak occurred through cross border transmission from neighboring Kenya, which earlier reported the outbreak from its side. According to Boru, the Moyale town is prone to such cross border contagious outbreaks due to movement of border crossing laborers. 

Boru added that sufficient works were being done by the town’s administration to control the outbreak and works are being coordinated along with the neighboring Somali regional health sectors. However, he indicated that the recent outbreak may be exacerbated by the current rainfall.

Moyale town sees the very first rain in autumn after long wait through the drought. Rain drags litter and on the main road connecting the town to Kenya. (Picture: Addis Standard)

Abdireshid Ibrahim Aden, Dawa zone disaster risk management coordinator from the Somali region side, however told Addis Standard that they are waiting for the confirmation of the cases from samples sent to Hawassa, and that there was death report yet. The zone shares Moyale town as administrative seat with Oromia region’s Borena zone.

On the other hand, the DW cited Mesfen Wosen, Public Health Risk Coordinator at the EPHI who disclosed that 44 people have died so far due to cholera outbreak in different zones of Oromia and Somali regions that are affected by the severe drought.

“The rain that is falling now is seasonal, especially in the areas of our country which are the main and second rainy season of autumn. It will continue to strengthen. Drought occurred in 4 regions of Ethiopia, not only causing serious problems for people and animals, but also causing infectious diseases and epidemics that caused food and water shortages. The death of 44 people due to cholera in Oromia and Somali regions is an example of this,” Mesfen said.

Meanwhile, according to the latest Situation Report by Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Cholera outbreak in Oromia and Somali regions has continued to expand across neighboring woredas (most recently in Goro Dola, Guji Zone). OCHA in its report, cited the Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI), where an estimated 1,896 cases have been reported as of 14 March, higher by nearly 60 percent from cases reported in February. Fourteen woredas (11 in Oromia, 3 in Somali) have been affected.

The recurring cholera outbreak has been a serious concern due to the areas identified are highly affected by the prolonged drought and the cholera prevalence peaks when the communities try to quench their thirst with the water from the recently dropping rain.  

Recently medical experts’ association in Oromia had been urging on the seriousness of the cholera outbreak underlining that unless the government and all involved parties do not take immediate action, the situation will continue to worsen and lead to disastrous consequences. AS

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