The World Health Organization (WHO) said it has seen a reduction in the number of cases of cholera and related deaths in Somalia since December 2017.

The UN health agency in its latest report released on Thursday attributed the reduction to improved disease surveillance and case management.

“The overall reduction in the number of new cholera cases is attributed to improved implementation of preventive interventions including OCV (oral cholera vaccination) and the strengthening of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) activities in the hot spots,” WHO said.

The Ministry of Health of Somalia announced 39 new suspected cases of cholera, with no deaths for epidemiological week 37 (9 to 15 September) in 2019.

“During this period, all of the cases were reported from a total of 17 districts in Banadir region. Of the 39 cases reported during this last epidemiological week, 17 cases (44%) are children below 5 years of age,” it added.

Somalia and the UN carried out a week-long immunization campaign in June using oral cholera vaccines (OCV) in high-risk districts to prevent recurring cholera outbreaks in the country, vaccinating more than 650,000 people aged one year and above.

The UN health agency said cholera outbreak has been contained in the districts of Jubaland, Hirshabelle and southwest States following the implementation of oral cholera vaccination (OCV) campaigns and other health interventions in these areas.

According to WHO, the country faced one of the largest outbreaks in its history in 2017 with 78,784 cases, including 1,159 deaths being reported.

In 2018, Somalia saw a reduction in reported cases of cholera and related deaths, largely due to improved disease surveillance and case management, with the reported number of cases standing at 6,448, including 45 deaths.