Cholera in Yemen: A Case Study of Epidemic Preparedness and Response

In 2015, the United Nations declared Yemen a Level 3 emergency. On September 28, 2016, a large-scale cholera outbreak began. Between April 27, 2017 and July 1, 2018, more than one million suspected cases in two waves were reported. In the last decade, several large-scale and high-mortality cholera outbreaks have occurred during complex humanitarian emergencies including in Iraq, Somalia, and South Sudan. While the issues of “what to do” to control cholera are largely known, context-specific practices on “how to do it” in order to surmount challenges to coordination, logistics, insecurity, access, and politics, remain needed. During the Yemen cholera outbreak response, questions arose on how to effectively respond to a cholera outbreak at a national scale during an existing emergency. The main objective of this report was to identify lessons learned from the preparedness and detection phase to the end of second wave of the cholera epidemic in Yemen to better prepare for future outbreaks in Yemen and similar contexts.

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