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Cholera Case Management Education Saves Lives in Sierra Leone

  • August 9, 2013

“We wanted to go beyond the initial response to the emergency, with training that includes infection control, treatment guidelines, and community management of cholera.”Rachel Granger, AmeriCares vice president of post-emergency programs.Following a rapid response to the cholera epidemic that swept through Sierra Leone in August, 2012, AmeriCares and global health partner iccdr,b continue to provide long-term prevention and early treatment solutions to combat the disease.In April, 2013, AmeriCares funded a four-day cholera case management training session for 180 health workers from all over the country. The session, led by 18 nurses and clinicians trained by icddr,b experts, is essential as the waterborne disease spreads easily in places like Sierra Leone with poor sanitation and limited access to clean water – especially after floods and heavy rain.During the height of the rainy season last summer, the cholera outbreak affecting the country reached an alarming infection rate of 2,000 people per week and left over 250 dead. AmeriCares rushed an emergency shipment with enough oral rehydration solution, intravenous fluids, antibiotics, syringes and other medical supplies to help up to 15,000 patients.In conjunction with the crucial medical aid delivery, icddr,b trained health workers and laboratory technicians in prevention practices to help vulnerable communities across the country. AmeriCares rapid response, combined with icddr,b cholera prevention training contributed significantly to the decrease in case fatality rates among the six hardest-hit districts.Almost a year later, the health workers that participated in the first training session continue to raise awareness of prevention practices, while building an anti-cholera infrastructure that will keep rates down in the years to come.“We wanted to go beyond the initial response to the emergency – with training that includes infection control, treatment guidelines and community management of cholera, we are hoping to prevent an outbreak in the future while improving health conditions for those living in Sierra Leone,” said Rachel Granger, AmeriCares vice president of post-emergency programs.Throughout the response, AmeriCares and icddr,b collaborated with the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation and the World Health Organization to provide targeted assistance to districts in need.The effort is part of the Global Cholera Preparedness Initiative, a joint commitment by AmeriCares and icddr,b to rapidly respond to large-scale cholera outbreaks all over the world. The program, announced at the 2011 Clinton Global Initiative and featured in the New York Times, combines icddr,b’s 50 years of expertise in cholera with AmeriCares disaster response capabilities.We continue fighting cholera and other causes of acute watery diarrhea in the Horn of AfricaHaiti and worldwide.Donate Now