Following up on cholera prevention in Tajikistan

WHO/Stephen Chako

WHO mission to Tajikistan meeting with stakeholders to discuss cholera outbreak in neighbouring Afghanistan

A team of epidemiologists from WHO and the Tajikistan State Sanitary Epidemiological Surveillance Service visited the three districts of Tajikistan that border Afghanistan in September 2013, following the reported outbreak of nearly 2000 cholera cases in Badakhshan province in Afghanistan.

The team visited Darvaz, Khorog and Iskashim in Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast and met with a variety of stakeholders, from public health officials to border guards and customs service personnel. AfghanTajik border check points, surveillance laboratories and health facilities were assessed in all three districts. The importance of early detection via surveillance of diarrhoea and case management was discussed.

In addition to the cholera outbreak in Afghanistan, there was also discussion of the ongoing epidemic of plague in Kyrgyzstan. Participants received WHO information leaflets on cholera and plague.

Recommendations

The mission team found no obvious increase in the number of diarrhoea cases in the three districts that border Afghanistan but recommended that the Ministry of Health and partners improve laboratory capacity to ensure timely detection and response. Further recommendations included improving health education related to personal, domestic and food hygiene.