At the Cosmos Club in Washington DC, on the 24th of September, there was talk of new approaches to urban epidemics, models to predict cholera outbreaks, and initiatives to prevent water-related diseases. Representatives from the Veolia Foundation, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Pan American Health Organisation, Millennium Water, Water 2020, Catholic Relief Services, the Organisation of American States, the US State Department, and the Universities of Maryland and Florida took part in the discussions. Fighting against cholera is in everyone's interest!
Among the talks given to the community, Rita Colwell and Antar Jutla, two American cholera specialists, presented a model for predicting cholera outbreaks by combining satellite data on the weather and the environment to predict the probability of cholera cases.
Romain Verchère, Project Manager at the Veolia Foundation, gave an update on the programme for rehabilitation and extension of drinking water facilities in Uvira, an endemic site in the province of South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo. Epidemiologists, engineers, and humanitarian organisations are pooling their skills to improve the drinking water network, strengthen the capacity of the local body in charge of the public water service, and promote hygiene. The objectives of doubling production capacity and improving facilities were fully achieved in September 2019. The work remaining is to bring community tap stands into service and install three thousand household connections in Uvira, using a randomised approach to enable an impact study. The construction project is expected to be completed in October 2020.
The projects presented demonstrated the progress made in achieving the GAAC roadmap. They are also a basis for adapting future approaches and developing new strategies to improve cholera control, anticipation, and prevention efforts.