Aid groups call for aid to cholera-prone areas

Aid groups have begun calling for donors to invest in water and sanitation in areas that are known to be cholera-prone, saying that such projects could indirectly lead to immense reductions in cholera worldwide.

The increased urgency to fight cholera comes as a result of lessons learned from the Guinea-Sierra Leone cross-border cholera epidemic that exploded in coastal areas that lack clean water before spreading to the nation's capitals, reports.

"Governments in this region and donors want to find long-term solutions," Christophe Valingot, a water, sanitation and hygiene specialist with the European Union aid body ECHO, said, according to "The identification of risk zones allows us to say, 'Okay, we've got to invest here if we want to have an impact on cholera.'

"It's clear that these zones are at a huge disadvantage when it comes to access to water and sanitation. This mapping directly flags the gaps in water and sanitation development."

The NGO Action Against Hunger has worked at mapping, preventing and responding to cholera in Sierra Leon and Guinea and has found that Sierra Leon's Kambia District and Guinea's Forecariah District are hotbeds of cholera.

"Cholera is not just an emergency and humanitarian issue," Jessica Dunoyer, an ACF cholera expert who worked in the two countries during the latest epidemic, said, reports. "It is an issue for the development community." With respect to water access, she said that given the Millennium Development Goal (full report) of halving the number of people lacking access to safe water, there is often an emphasis on the number of people covered, while considerations such as an area being a cholera hotbed may not sufficiently guide selection.