Factors, health system preparedness, and response strategy for the recent cholera outbreak in Syria
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Department of Global Health, Karolinska Inistitute, Sweden
Department of Global Health, Karolinska Institute, Solna, Sweden
Publication date: 2023-04-27
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1675
On 2022 September 10, The Ministry of Health in Syria officially announced a cholera outbreak in the country, primarily affecting northeast Syria and spreading fast to other cities and regions. With the decade-long armed conflict situation in Syria, the country’s health system struggles to respond to the crisis. This article Aims to analyse the reasons and underlying factors that contributed to the current ongoing cholera outbreak in Syria, assess the preparedness of the country’s health system in facing the outbreak, and recommend strategies to better prepare for and respond to future outbreaks. Methods: A literature search of research articles and grey literature related to the ongoing cholera outbreak in Syria was conducted on online databases and search engines. Results were scanned for relevance to two overarching topics: factors that contributed to the outbreak and health system preparedness and response. Results: Forty three out of 1,209 articles were included in the review. From these articles, underlying factors that contributed to the fast spread of the cholera outbreak in Syria were identified, including displacement due to armed conflict situations; chronic water insecurity and lack of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure; droughts due to climate change; weakened health system capacity; and political instability leading to an overall uncoordinated local and international response. Conclusions: Syria has reported its first cholera outbreak since the country’s decade-long armed conflict started. overall, the current state of the country’s health system and political landscape is insufficient in adequately responding to this outbreak. As the outbreak has started to spread beyond the country’s borders, external aid is much needed to assist the nation’s fragmented response. Focusing efforts in arresting the outbreak in Syria now will not only prevent more casualties and losses in the country but can also save neighboring countries in the region.
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