Cholera Surges in Angola
More than 20,000 Angolans are infected by cholera. At least 900 have died already. Health institutions and humanitarian organizations are working to treat those infected by the disease and to prevent its spread. The aid organization Action Against Hunger/Action Contre la Faim (ACF is concentrating its efforts on the municipalities of Cubal and Kayumbo, in the Benguela district in the west of the country.
Growing Fear of a Return to Civil War
Action Against Hunger's water and sanitation experts are starting programs to treat and purify community water points and to clean and disinfect wells. In addition, teams will distribute clean water to 130,000 beneficiaries and educate communities in hygiene.
"The excrement of a person infected by cholera contains millions of bacteria that quickly multiply," explains Victor Arroyo, Action Against Hunger's water and sanitation expert. "This means that a person's proximity to anything that is contaminated poses a high risk of infection. Simple details such as ensuring that water is stored in a clean space, avoiding contact with sick people, and washing hands before eating and drinking safe water are vital to break the chain of infection."
"Although cholera can be treated effectively, mortality rates in some areas have reached 10%," says Toni Martinez-Piqueras, Action Against Hunger's desk officer for Africa. "In order to reduce mortality rates, it is crucial to ensure good water quality, which is essential for eliminating the disease."
During the next three months, Action Against Hunger, present in Angola since 1995, will implement programs to address the public health problem in Angola, a country that is still recovering from 30 years of conflict.