On September 19th, Syrian health authorities confirmed the first cholera case in northwest Syria (NWS) in the Jarablus district of Aleppo governorate. Northwest Syria is the last area of the country to confirm cases of cholera, a rare bacterial disease usually spread in contaminated water or food, amidst a growing epidemic. Between 25 August and 15 October, 20,014 suspected cases have been reported, including 75 associated deaths to date at a case fatality rate of 0.37% across northwest and northeast Syria, according to World Health Organization (WHO) and Early Warning, Alert and Response Network (EWARN).
IBC has been responding to the increasing of cholera cases by attending coordination meetings, related trainings, and distributing aqua tabs in Northwest Syria. IBC’s Syria cross-border programs manager, Dr. Muhammed Assaf, has attended the training of trainers (TOT) which was conducted in Gaziantep by UNICEF and Al Meen foundation and IBC also attended the 3 days Cholera training conducted by OCHA Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Cluster in December. By attending this training, IBC is now able to lead community engagement efforts on northwest Syria cholera advocacy and response.
Additionally, as the cases are increasing in Northwest Syria, IBC distributed a total of 38,000 individual Aqua tabs to 1237 families in 5 camps in Albab. Aqua Tabs are chlorine substance that is placed in drinking water to sterilize it from germs and can be use in the water tanks in houses.
IBC in cooperation with OCHA health cluster is taking necessary actions in order to respond to the increasing cholera cases in Northwest Syria and raising awareness about the dangers of cholera, transmission, and prevention methods in the community. In order to continue effectively, IBC urges renewal and extension of the upcoming United Nations Security Council Resolution for continuation of coordinated cross-border humanitarian aid and preventing further loss of life in Northwest Syria.