Benin: recurrent cholera still not a priority

At least 50 cholera cases have been recorded in Benin’s capital Cotonou since 24 July, according to local hospital officials.

These cases have been reported in the capital’s eastern districts of Enagnon, Dedokpo, and Segbeya, neighbourhoods that lack clean drinking water, waste disposal services, and indoor plumbing.

[…]

The Benin government has renewed an education campaign on sanitation and what to do at the first signs of cholera infection.

Dr. Paul Yada, an epidemic specialist at the African regional office of the World Health Organization (WHO), said […] countries’ responses to cholera outbreaks tend to be fast, but that follow up is poor.

“After an epidemic, people stop these education campaigns. The problem is, you cannot change someone’s behaviours in one week. You cannot stop teaching about sanitation just because the rains stop. This needs to go on year round. ”

[…]

Last year, toward the end of Africa’s rainy season, ministers of health from across the continent signed an agreement to develop comprehensive action plans to fight cholera.

Yada says none have been submitted to WHO’s regional office in Congo Brazzaville for funding.

Read more: IRIN, 13 August 2008

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