Ethiopia: ‘Diarrhea’ Outbreak Getting Closer to Becoming a National Emergency

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For Ethiopian officials, Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD) is a euphemism for cholera.

For Ethiopian officials, Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD) is a euphemism for cholera.
Ethiopian officials insist on describing the outbreak as one of Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD), not cholera, which has similar symptoms. The WHO representative to Ethiopia told VOA that 16,000 cases of AWD had been recorded in the region since January.


Hundreds of people have been falling sick due to the outbreak of Acute Watery Diarrhea also known as AWD in Ethiopian Somali region.

And the situation was getting closer to becoming a national health emergency but according to the Ethiopian minister for health Professor Yifru Birihanu the last ten days saw dramatic improvements.

“Our health centers in the region had days back received up to 755 patients per day. But over the last ten days the number has continuously declined. Now we have around 259 new diarrhoea cases in the region. I believe this is one big improvement,” said Professor Yifru.

It’s the current drought situation in the whole of the eastern Africa region which is blamed for the outbreak and expansion of the acute diarrhoea in Ethiopia Somali region. As there is serious water shortage in the region, authorities say, sanitation related diseases like AWD are unavoidable.

“The disease entered to our Somali region from three directions. The first is from the central part of the nation. And second was the one that came from the Kenyan border towns through Moyale. And the third one is the one that came from the Somalia with diarrhea affected refugees. This came through our Dollo locality. These all have caused the serious Acute Watery Diarrhea to happen in Ethiopia Somali region,” said Professor Yifru Berhan.

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Though the number has not been disclosed, the government admits the acute Watery diarrhoea has caused deaths.

Ethiopia has deployed more than 5 hundred doctors and nurses to its diarrhea affected Somali region. And because of the coordinated effort exerted it was said the situation is now under control.

However the government and international health organizations say serious preparations need to be made for any furtherance of the outbreak.

Also educating the public about personal hygiene and clean water usage are all hoped to put the current problem behind.