WaterAid statement at World Health Assembly: WHO's work in Health Emergencies

The following statement was delivered by WaterAid's Policy Analyst on Health and Hygiene, Megan Wilson-Jones, at the 71st World Health Assembly in Geneva.

Honourable chair and delegates, WaterAid welcomes the resolution on cholera prevention and control being led by the Governments of Zambia and Haiti. Last year saw some of the worst outbreaks of cholera in recent history. Large scale outbreaks dominated the headlines while at the same time regular outbreaks continue to pose a threat to public health across many endemic settings, which is likely to worsen in the face of climate change, urbanisation and migration.

Cholera is a disease of poverty affecting the poorest communities, yet it can be easily prevented and treated with the tools we have available today, including assess to reliable and safe water, sanitation and appropriate hygiene behaviours. The launch of the new Global Roadmap to End Cholera by 2030, and the collaboration through the Global Taskforce on Cholera Control provides a unique opportunity to drive a transformational change in cholera control.

We call on Member States to:

  1. Strengthen cross-sectoral and multi-stakeholder collaboration with the water, sanitation and hygiene sector to ensure long-term prevention and control of cholera;
  2. Invest in both short and long term water, sanitation and hygiene solutions, targeted to cholera hotspots and delivered in combination with other cholera control measures, including the oral cholera vaccine;
  3. Ensure all healthcare facilities have access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, critical to the effective treatment of cholera and delivery of quality health care as part of UHC.

Furthermore, we encourage WHO to prioritise cholera with dedicated funding, strengthen support at country level, and reinforce the Global Taskforce on Cholera Control as the global coordination mechanism.

WaterAid are ready to support countries to implement multi-sectoral cholera control plans targeted to the communities most in need, through partnership with the Global Taskforce on Cholera Control.