Cholera/acute watery diarrhoea outbreak and in impact of drought in Somaliland (By: Madar Abdiqani Hersi)


Twelve of the deaths were in the taleex area, about 160km from Laas-anod, with fourteen fatalities recorded in Buhodle. People suffering from cholera where admitted to the Buhodle clinic, which is run by the SRCS Somaliland.

Mortality of cholera has 28 people in the last 10 days and hospitalized a further 167 people, Cholera is spread by contaminated food and water. The outbreak has devastated remote communities in the drought ravaged region. And have been reported more than 411 cases of cholera, at the beginning of April. (Report from IFRC/International Federation of RED CROSS and Crescent societies)

Most of the population in the affected parts of Somaliland are pastoralist and agro-pastoralist, and have been hit hard by the ongoing drought. Many have brought their surviving animals to Dhumay and Xalin, where the only water is from contaminated open wells and springs.

Dakir Mahmoud Warsame, Las Anod Branch Secretary of SRCS Somaliland, said:

The situation is getting worse and the number is increasing sharply. We are sending extra medical teams to support the people.”

The risk factors people are children and adults, lack of food and clean water, this cases occur when they drinking contaminated water rain. Somaliland has been devastated in recent years by drought.

The Cholera Outbreak

Cholera has been spreading in the country as a result of a lack of clean water and food shortage, people die dehydration and famine drought caused malnutrition. Somaliland has more than 411 cases and 28 deaths cholera.

What is Cholera?

Cholera is a bacterial disease caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholera that results in an acute diarrheal illness. People acquire the disease through consumption of food or water contaminated with the bacterium, Vibrio cholera. For those who become infected, symptoms can occur anywhere from 12 hours to five days after initial infection. Symptoms of cholera include severe watery diarrhoea, often leading to severe dehydration. This dehydration can be fatal if not treated within hours of the initial onset of these symptoms. Most cases do not exhibit any symptoms but can still shed the bacterium in their faces for one to 10 days after infection. This is problematic because the asymptomatic carriers may contamination their environment and can contribute to further spread of the disease.

Cholera affects millions of people annually, even though it is a completely treatable and preventable disease. The treatment for cholera includes oral rehydration solution that can be administered through dissolvable tablets or intravenous fluids. If administered to the patient quickly and efficiently enough, the case fatality rate for cholera is below 1%. In order to prevent the spread of cholera, there must be adequate drinking water and sanitation. Additionally required is hygiene surveillance, social mobilization, quick and sufficient treatment of those already infected, and the use of oral vaccinations. Oral vaccinations for cholera involves two doses for full protection against the disease. Each vaccination provides about 65% protection against the disease for two to five years depending on the type of vaccination. To respond appropriately to cholera emergencies, the World Health Organization established an on-demand supply of approximately two million doses of oral vaccinations. Even though cholera is completely preventable and treatable, it still affects many countries, especially those with poor water and sanitation infrastructure, like Somalia.

By: Madar Abdiqani Hersi