Launch of the WHO WaSH working group led by the Foundation's Executive Officer

Dr Thierry Vandevelde, Executive Officer of the Veolia Foundation, chaired the first meeting of the WaSH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) working group set up by the World Health Organization (WHO) in the framework of the Global Task Force on Cholera Control (GTFCC).

The aim of this WHO task force initiated in 1992 is to reduce mortality linked to cholera across the globe. Revitalized in 2014, it provides for regular meetings of experts, brought together in five thematic working groups. The WaSH working group led by Thierry Vandevelde focuses on the environmental aspects of the combat against the cholera pandemic.

The WaSH workshop met in May at the UNICEF head office in New York. During this workshop, the 30 eminent experts in the fields of water and epidemiology comprising the working group identified 20 possible leads for action that could benefit from task force financing. One of them involves comparing the cost/benefits of two approaches: the WaSH program versus vaccination campaigns.

WaSH is an integrated, multi-stakeholder approach that brings into play both government agencies and civil society organizations around a program to build, consolidate and develop safe drinking water infrastructure as a way of combating cholera. The Foundation has been implementing this conceptual approach since 2007 in its program in RDC, where it works in partnership with the country's Health Ministry, REGIDESO, AFD and local nonprofits to rehabilitate and secure water networks in two towns in the country considered as permanent hotspots of the disease.

The work carried out by the different working groups will allow GTFCC to formulate and promote a program for global control of cholera through prevention actions proposed to governments. Thanks to the experience gained from its action in combating cholera in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 2007, the GAAC* (Global Alliance Against Cholera), for which the Veolia Foundation, one of its founding members,plays the role of General Secretariat, has provided useful material for discussions. 

A principal objective of the GTFCC Workshop activity is to encourage the planning for field coordination of Oral Cholera Vaccination campaigns, which offer limited time protection against contracting cholera, with the long term prevention benefits of Government sponsorship, with International Agency financing, of potable water and sanitation infrastructure, and community based health education services.


Humanitarian and Development | Congo, The Democratic Republic of the | 2010/03/15
Battling cholera epidemics in the Democratic Republic of Congo


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Global Alliance Against Cholera (GAAC)