U.N. health agency heightens response to cholera outbreak in Tanzania

UN health agency heightens response to cholera outbreak in Tanzania | Courtesy of

The United Nations health agency recently stated that it the cholera outbreak in Tanzania has continued spreading through Tanzania’s western Kigoma region due to an increase in refugees from nearby Burundi.

The cholera outbreak began with an overwhelming influx of Burundian refugees, all of whom were escaping their native country’s political upheaval. Beginning in April 2015, approximately 100,000 Burundians left their country for nearby countries, such as Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Tanzania. Many of them stayed nearby Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania. As the refugees escaped political upheaval, the cholera outbreak continued to spread.

The epidemic has already killed 34 people since May 10, when the outbreak began. Approximately 4,662 confirmed and suspected cases have been reported in the region.

The U.N. health agency has decided to heighten its response efforts to the outbreak in hopes of stopping the epidemic.

In light of the outbreak, the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that it will distribute approximately 164,000 oral cholera vaccine (OCV) doses to people living in areas that are considered high risk, such as the Nyarugusu camp and villages like Kigoma Ujiji, Karago and Kagunga.

“Carrying out social mobilization, including door-to-door campaigns and health education, is a key component to educate populations and inform district and community leaders about the disease,” Dr. Rufaro Chatora, the U.N. World Health Organization (WHO) representative for Tanzania, said.

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