US, Tanzania partner to combat cholera outbreak

By Guardian Reporter , The Guardian
Published at 04:16 AM Apr 03 2024
US Ambassador to Tanzania Michael Battle
Photo: Courtesy of Us Embassy in Tanzania
US Ambassador to Tanzania Michael Battle

IN response to the months-long cholera outbreak and in partnership with the Ministry of Health, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have been working with impacted communities to conduct cholera prevention activities, deploy health experts to targeted areas and identify ways to increase access to clean water.

Responding to the Ministry of Health’s request for assistance, USAID has allocated 480m/- to assist communities most affected in Tanzania, while the CDC has supported the deployment of health professionals from the Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme into six regions. 

Collectively, the assistance has been and will continue to strengthen health education on water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) practices; encourage sick people to seek care; facilitate household assessments of WASH practices; and boost the distribution of water purification tablets. 

“The United States remains committed to our partnership with the Tanzanian government and stands with Tanzania in its fight against this disease,” said US Ambassador to Tanzania Michael Battle in a statements yesterday. 

“Cholera is a deadly, yet preventable, disease. Together, we can prevent it and save Tanzanian lives.”

USAID’s ongoing commitment of $50 million focused on providing a long-term solution by improving water infrastructure and community awareness on accessing safe water provides more than two million Tanzanians access to safe water and improved sanitation. 

In 2024, USAID will begin building new water systems and sewage treatment facilities to offer more people clean water, while continuing to build capacity for the management and maintenance of existing water, sanitation, and hygiene projects.

Since September 2023, cholera outbreak surged in Tanzania with more than 2,500 cases and 46 fatalities reported. This outbreak, which affected 18 regions, has the fourth-highest case count and third-highest fatality rate in the past four decades. 

The Ministry of Health’s response reduced infections and resulted in seven regions declaring an end to the surge. However, 12 regions still have active outbreaks, with Simiyu, Shinyanga, and Mwanza the most affected.