African Cholera Surveillance Network (Africhol)

Although the incidence of cholera has declined dramatically in most parts of the world, outbreaks continue to occur throughout Africa. The continent accounts for more than 90% of reported cases worldwide, approximately 15% of which result in mortality.

Improvements in water supply, sanitation, and food safety are the best means of preventing cholera in the long term. However, these interventions cannot be fully implemented in the near future in most endemic settings. In these areas, new-generation vaccines offer the greatest potential to control the disease in the medium term.

To determine if cholera vaccination is suitable for a given population, accurate data on disease burden is needed. Yet, due to poor surveillance systems and frequent under-reporting, the actual number of cases is largely underestimated throughout Africa.

AMP is committed to improving cholera surveillance, prevention, and outbreak response in Africa. It is doing so through a three-year project called Africhol, established in 2009 with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The project, which involves governments and health organizations worldwide, aims to determine the incidence of cholera in sub-Saharan African through the creation of a surveillance network in at least eight countries. Data gathered from the project will serve to inform decisions on optimal interventions for cholera prevention and control, including vaccination and improved water and sanitation.

A consortium of national and international organizations, led by AMP, oversees the development and implementation of the surveillance network. It also serves as a forum for partners to share information on project activities and to develop tools for use by surveillance sites. For more information, see the PDF file attachment.

Cholera is increasingly recognized as a major cause of disease and death in Africa. Through Africhol, AMP is contributing to the development of cholera surveillance, which is essential for deciding the best health interventions.