Logistics of managing a cholera epidemic

During a new influx of refugees the people are often crowded together in conditions of and poor hygiene and sanitation. If cholera does break out it may spread like wildfire, and eventually affect up to 5 per cent of the population. That may not sound many but in a refugee population of 100,000 persons that means 5,000 cases which may all occur over a matter of days or weeks. The only way to cope with such a large number of cholera patients is to have highly effective logistics. The logistics of an MSF response to cholera includes the following elements:
  • having trained field volunteers on standby for rapid deployment
  • use MSF cholera kits that contain all the equipment and supplies that a team needs in order to be able to start work immediately.
  • prepositioning of kits and supplies in a cholera-prone region
  • building cholera treatment centres according to a tested MSF design to centralise staff-intensive activities such as IV rehydration
  • setting up decentralised oral rehydration corners for treating mild cases in the community
  • training community health workers to identify new cases and bring them in for treatment
  • setting up adequate water supplies and sanitation facilities to limit contagion.