Thousands of people in Yemen could be dying from cholera that is undiagnosed due to their fear of receiving treatment from the country’s overwhelmed health centers, according to an Oxfam report.
Conditions are not likely to improve in the near term. The number of Covid-19 cases is expected to increase in the coming weeks, and the upcoming rainy season in August could further spread the waterborne disease.
This prediction comes after an unusual drop in recorded cholera cases this year. There was a 50 percent decrease from April through June, compared to January through March. Last year, the spring and summer months brought an increase of cholera due to the rainy season.
“Rather than show that Yemen has cholera and Covid-19 under control, the low official numbers demonstrate the exact opposite,” said Muhsin Siddiquey, Oxfam’s Yemen country director. “A lack of working health facilities and people too scared to get treatment means that the numbers suffering from these diseases are being vastly under recorded.”
The Yemen Ministry of Public Health reported 35,512 suspected cholera cases in January, but only 3,049 in June.
Cholera is easily treatable through proper hydration. But according to the World Health Organization, without adequate treatment up to half of people infected could die.