Cholera outbreak in Iraq

The number of confirmed cases of cholera has risen to 107 in central and southern parts of Iraq since an outbreak of the disease in late August. Ihssan Jaafar, director of Iraq’s Public Health Directorate, said cases have been confirmed in Baghdad, Babil, Karbala, Najaf, Diyala, Basra and Maysan. Jaafar said health authorities are raising awareness about the disease through posters and TV spots. (IRIN, Sept. 18)

But some have been critical of the authorities’ call to citizens to boil water, use bottled water, or water purification tablets. Ismaiel Mohammed, a sociology professor at the University of Babil, said this will add to the economic burden of the poor, as they will have to pay more money for fuel to boil water, or for buying bottled water or tablets. “It [cholera] is an endemic disease and there must be real solutions that go to the roots of it and not only immediate measures whenever the disease emerges. By this we are only cutting off the octopus’ arms and not killing it.” (IRIN, Sept. 14)

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