UK gives £2 million to help cholera outbreak in Syria

Britain has committed £2 million ($2.3m) to address the spread of cholera in Syria.

Unicef, the UN agency for children, will use the funds to fight the growing epidemic more than 10 years after the start of the war.

Italy recently pledged $499,000 to the World Health Organization’s cholera response in Syria.

The cholera treatment centres, cholera kits, and cholera prevention training that the UK money will help establish will provide people with cholera treatment, the Foreign Office said in a statement.

According to the Syrian Health Ministry, 13 out of 14 provinces have recorded 44 deaths and 942 cholera cases.

The number of deaths and cases of cholera has risen to 44 and 942, respectively, out of 14 governorates, according to the Syria Health Ministry’s announcement on October 22nd.

People can contract cholera by eating contaminated food or water, and it can cause severe vomiting and diarrhoea, resulting in death.

The WHO last week suggested that partners and countries limit cholera vaccinations to one dose rather than two, given the increasing caseload and shortage of supplies.

There is limited evidence regarding the length of time the vaccine protects, but one shot appears to stop outbreaks, according to the report. In children, the protection appears to be lower.

24 million doses of vaccines are already being shipped for immunisation campaigns, according to WHO.

There is no quick method to boost output, the statement said. According to a global cholera task force, they require 250 million cholera vaccines by 2025 to prevent outbreaks as well as for routine immunisation programmes.

Cholera vaccines will no longer be produced by Shantha Biotechnics, an Indian subsidiary of the French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi, by the end of this year.

There is currently only one producer, EuBiologics, for the simple-to-produce oral vaccine.

Image Credit: Louis Reed on Unsplash

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