MSF teams respond to diarrhea outbreak in Ethiopia

Since August 19, joint Ministry of Health and MSF teams have been providing medical care to patients with acute watery diarrhea in and around the capital city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

In collaboration with Ethiopian health authorities, MSF has set up a total of eight treatment facilities within Ministry of Health structures in the city. These treatment facilities are located in Yekatit 12 hospital, Ras Desta hospital, Zewditu hospital, Sint Petros hospital, Akaki health centre, Kaliti health centre, Bole and Kotebe Youth centre.

In total 5,178 patients have been cared for by medical teams from August 19 to 31 in Addis Ababa, of whom five have died. This very low mortality rate has been achieved thanks to the quick mobilisation of the Ethiopian health authorities and MSF. Over the last few days, the number of daily admissions to these treatment facilities has been decreasing.

People suffering from acute watery diarrhea have contracted the disease mostly by drinking unclean water. If left untreated, they run a risk to become dehydrated. While most severe cases need to be hospitalised and receive intravenous therapy, people who are moderately sick can be treated with oral rehydration salts only.

Since the beginning of July, MSF has also been responding to a watery diarrhea outbreak in the northeastern region of Afar. In two months, the team, in collaboration with the health authorities, has provided care to 570 patients in two treatment facilities.

Ethiopia's Ministry of Health has also reported patients suffering from acute watery diarrhea in several other regions of the country.

Additional staff have been sent to Ethiopia to augment the MSF teams on the ground.