Delivering Emergency Healthcare Services to Curb Cholera Outbreak


Delivering Emergency Healthcare Services to Curb Cholera Outbreak

In 2017, the largest and fastest-growing outbreak of cholera in modern history broke out in Yemen, with more than one million suspected cases reported.

With its health and sanitation systems facing total collapse following years of a brutal civil war, Yemen stood on the brink of an unprecedented public health epidemic. The crisis was further exacerbated by extreme hunger and malnutrition.

Cholera is spread by poor hygiene and contaminated food or drinking water. Without treatment, the disease can cause fatal dehydration.

With support from the World Health Organization, Relief International launched an emergency response to the unfolding cholera crisis. Through this project, we supported 44 oral rehydration centers and 12 existing dehydration treatment centers to treat new cases of the disease in the hardest-to-reach areas of the country that are cut off from medical care.

At the height of the outbreak, our teams worked to treat an estimated 30,000 cases of the disease in high-risk areas. We trained staff members at each of our centers on proper techniques to diagnose and treat cholera cases as well as standard infection prevention and control protocols. Most patients experiencing mild to moderate cases of cholera can be treated using an oral rehydration solution – a mixture of water, glucose, and electrolytes. In severe cases, these fluids are administrated intravenously along with antibiotics.

In addition to these emergency services, our teams also worked to improve and rehabilitate water points at each of our health centers to prevent additional disease outbreaks.

As the cholera outbreak slowed in late 2017, Relief International downsized its cholera response by transitioning these facilities into primary care centers, ensuring vulnerable communities can still access these life-saving health services.

Project Profile


YEMEN – Al Mawhit, Amran and Hajjah governorates

People Reached



  • sector_icons_healthcare_blk.png Health and Nutrition