Zambia is one of the worst-hit by the cholera outbreaks. Photo: Others

The cases of cholera, a waterborne disease, have doubled in 10 African countries, according to the World Health Organisation.

WHO reported more than 26,000 cases and 700 deaths in the first four weeks of 2024, a number that doubles the figures reported in 2023 over the same period.

‘’Cholera cases are surging globally, and there’s been an unprecedented spike in Africa... eastern and southern Africa have been particularly badly affected,’’ warned Doctor Fiona Braka, WHO Africa Region Team Lead, Emergency Operations, in a statement.

Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania, DRC, Ethiopia, and Nigeria are in the grip of “active outbreaks," with a high risk of further spread, says WHO.

Climate change

Dr. Braka said the current cholera records will be ''broken as long as people do not have access to clean water and sanitation facilities''.

Increased flooding associated with climate change has been named a strong contributor to the spread of the disease, which spreads when contaminated food or water is consumed.

Cyclones and droughts have reduced access to clean water, thereby creating an ideal environment for cholera to thrive.

Last year, a cyclone sparked an outbreak in Mozambique, which recorded over 4000 new cases and 131 deaths. Also in 2023, heavy rains and flash flooding impacted Zambia, leading to outbreaks.

WHO says it is supporting all inoculation drives in affected countries, with Zambia vaccinating over 1.7 million people and Zimbabwe aiming to vaccinate 2.3 million by the end of the year.

TRT Afrika and agencies