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On 26 December 2022, the Ethiopian Ministry of Health led a consultative and advocacy meeting on the implementation of the National Cholera Elimination Plan (NCP), which aims to reduce cholera cases in to zero by 2028, and which was launched in May 2022 during the 75th World Health Assembly in Geneva Switzerland.

The consultative and advocacy meeting brought together government and non-government stakeholders including the Ministry of Water and Energy, the Ministry of Finance, the Ethiopian Public Health Institute, regional health and water bureaus, the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and other partners to discuss on mechanisms for multi-sectoral engagement for the implementation of the NCP.

Despite years of control efforts, cholera still occurs in 30 countries globally and annually kills more than 140 000 people. Its burden and impact is highest in the African Region, where it is endemic in many countries, and sickens and kills many every year in at least 10 countries where annual outbreaks occur. Ethiopia is among the countries that experience periodic outbreaks that affect hundreds and result in loss of life.

“We are acutely aware that cholera is not only a health problem, but a disease rooted in socio-economic conditions such as access to clean water, hygiene and sanitation. Therefore, the Ministry of Health is collaborating with other sectors and partners to control, and eventually eliminate, cholera from Ethiopia,” said Excellency Dr Lia Tadesse, Minister of Health.”

To eliminate this disease and protect the people of Ethiopia, and in line with the Health Sector Transformation Plan 2021-2025, the Ethiopian Ministry of Health collaborated with partners to develop the National Cholera Elimination Plan (NCP) outlining a strategy and detailed plan to reduce the number of cases in hotspots in Ethiopia down to zero by 2028.  This plan follows the Global Roadmap to 2030, the strategy to end cholera that was launched by the Global Task Force on Cholera Control (GTFCC) – a consortium of global cholera partners – in 2017, and adopted by the WHO African Region in 2018.  

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Dr Paul Mainuka, Officer in Charge of WHO Ethiopia, reiterated the call to a multi-sectoral approach to ending cholera. “We need to strengthen leadership and coordination, WaSH, surveillance, laboratory and reporting, build strong health systems build human capacity and use oral cholera vaccines in endemic and hotspot areas together with risk communication and community engagement,” he said. Dr Mainuka also reaffirmed WHO’s commitment to work with all stakeholders to attain elimination of cholera in Ethiopia. 

The National Cholera Elimination Plan is a guiding document to ensure water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) infrastructure and services are established in all high-risk areas, and adequate case management, and oral cholera vaccines are readily in place for prevention and response in case of outbreaks.  This can be achieved through the highest levels of political commitment coupled with resource mobilization to implement these effective tools to prevent deaths and protect livelihoods of the Ethiopian people. The stakeholders and advocacy meeting called on all stakeholders to contribute with their mandates, expertise and resources towards the goal of eliminating cholera form Ethiopia by 2028, as outlined in the NCP.  

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Health Organization (WHO) – Ethiopia.