Lessons From Yemen's Cholera Response

In a new report, the Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health offers 20 top recommendations for getting ahead of future outbreaks in Yemen and similarly complex humanitarian settings.

In 2015, Yemen was declared a Level 3 emergency by the UN, kicking into gear the highest level of humanitarian support. A massive cholera outbreak followed, leading to 1 million suspected cases in 2 waves from September 2016-July 2018. 

“We largely know ‘what to do’ to control cholera, but context-specific practices on ‘how to do it’ in order to surmount challenges to coordination, logistics, insecurity, access and politics remain needed,” the report states.

While the response improved between the 2 waves, there were gaps. For one, Yemen’s history of cholera should have triggered a heavy focus on pre-planning for an epidemic, such as stockpiling supplies and doubling down on community-based surveillance, the report found.

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