WHO conduct a training program for community health workers on case management of Acute Watery Diarrhea/Cholera in Southcentral Somalia

Mogadishu, Somalia:-The World Health Organization (WHO) in coordination with the Somali Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) will be conducting a two-month training program for community health workers on case management of Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD)/Cholera.

The program will begin with 3 days training of 35 trainers (TOTs), who will cascade the training to the community level. The training program will be implemented between 1 November and 31 December 2017 and covers the 11 Southcentral Zone regions. The training has been carefully designed with standard WHO training tools customized and adapted to the local setting. The 3-days TOT training will be conducted in Mogadishu and it will be facilitated and supported by WHO technical experts alongside national trainers from the FMOH, while the cascade community health workers trainings will be conducted in respective Southcentral Somalia regions. These capacity building trainings are part of the preparedness efforts in which WHO and health authorities are implementing in preparation of the upcoming cholera season.

“WHO will step up its support to the Ministry of Health to protect over 5 million people who are still at risk of contracting water-borne diseases in different parts of the country, and it is committed to build the local capacities to scale up the preparedness and response to potential cholera outbreak” said Dr. Ghulam Popal WHO Representative in Somalia. “We have succeeded to control the spread of the latest major cholera outbreak which started in November 2016 and ended September 2017. Number of suspected cholera cases declined gradually, thanks to the joint efforts and collaboration between WHO, the national health authorities and health partners,” added Dr. Popal.

The training of community health workers on cholera case-management is expected to contribute the reduction of the number of AWD/cholera associated deaths to levels below WHO threshold. By October 2017, the AWD/Cholera outbreak had resulted in 78,240 cases and 1,159 deaths- (case fatality rate of 1.4%)- from 55 districts in 19 regions across the country. The limited capacity to manage AWD/cholera cases at the community level and the limited engagement of community health workers in the surveillance and awareness raising of communities especially IDPs were some of the contributing factors to the increase in number of cases and deaths during the last outbreak.

A total of 56 Cholera Treatment Centers (CTCs) and Cholera Treatment Units (CTUs) were established by health authorities and partners with support from WHO in 2017 to manage AWD/cholera cases across the country. In addition, a total of 265 sentinel sites including cholera treatment facilities were covered by the electronic early warning disease surveillance system in all regions.

Despite the significant reduction in the number of AWD/Cholera cases and deaths reported in the past three months, the risks of potential outbreak during the coming rainy season is still high due to poor sanitation and access to safe water, limited access to health care services, inaccessibility in some of the hotspot areas, and possible importation of AWD/Cholera cases from neighboring countries.

WHO emergency response to AWD/Cholera outbreak in Somalia has been made possible through the generous support from The Government of Germany, the Vaccine Alliance (GAVI), the Polio Global Eradication Initiative, the UN Central Emergency Relief Fund (CERF), and the UK Department for International Development (DFID).