Yemen’s Cholera Crisis: Fighting Disease During Armed Conflict

If the audio player above does not load, you can listen to the podcast here.


Yemen currently faces the “world’s worst cholera outbreak in the midst of the world’s largest humanitarian crisis,” according to a joint statement issued by UNICEF, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in July 2017. As of August, the WHO reported that over 500,000 suspected cholera cases and nearly 2,000 associated deaths had occurred since the end of April alone, with 41% of cases being children under 15 years of age. Although cholera is not new to Yemen, a host of factors have fueled this outbreak, among them: the ongoing armed conflict; the disintegration of healthcare systems in the country, hastened by numerous direct attacks on hospitals; severe food insecurity and malnutrition; and already weak infrastructure, poor governance, poverty, and corruption. Whereas cholera is preventable and treatable under normal circumstances, the near collapse of Yemen’s health, water, and sanitation sectors amidst the ongoing armed conflict have fueled the disease’s spread across the country.

The cholera epidemic also has significant protection consequences. In addition to emergency response and prevention activities, humanitarians and medical professionals are seeking to plan proactively to avoid family separation due to medical treatment and death of family members; mitigate the psychosocial effects of the conflict; and address the potential economic implications—such as exploitation, abuse, and child labor—of severe food insecurity, conflict, and cholera.

In light of this multidimensional humanitarian crisis, this podcast will bring together medical experts and humanitarian practitioners to discuss the epidemiological implications and medical treatment of Yemen’s cholera epidemic amidst an active armed conflict, as well as the ongoing challenges of maintaining humanitarian assistance and protection operations to mitigate the devastating impact of this crisis on vulnerable populations.

In particular, this podcast will focus on the following questions:

  • How has the intersection of cholera with other crises, namely armed conflict and famine, affected the outbreak, spread, and treatability of cholera in Yemen?  
  • What are the challenges and dilemmas facing the humanitarian and medical sectors as they respond to Yemen’s cholera crisis?  In particular, how does the collapse of crucial infrastructure influence the medical and humanitarian response to the current crisis?  
  • How can the humanitarian sector anticipate and respond to the vast array of consequences (including the separation of family members and psychosocial effects) of this crisis?
  • What role has the international community played in responding to the situation? What additional steps could prevent further fatalities?
Johannes headshot.jpg
Johannes Bruwer
Deputy Head of Delegation,
ICRC Yemen
Samuel Cheung
Senior Protection Cluster Coordinator, 
Twitter: @samdcheung
Nadine Headshot 3.png
Nadine Drummond
Media and Communication Manager, 
Save the Children Yemen
Jamie McGoldrick
Humanitarian Coordinator,
United Nations, Yemen
David A. Sack, M.D.
Professor, Department of International Health
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
Twitter: @STOPcholera



Add new comment

(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Allows content to be broken up into multiple pages using the separator: <!--pagebreak-->.
  • Allows breaking the content into pages by manually inserting <!--pagebreak--> placeholder or automatic page break by character or word limit, it depends on your settings below. Note: this will work only for CCK fields except for comment entity CCK fields.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.

Recent Tweets

Our Sponsor

A Program Of

All materials © 2014 Harvard University

Back to Top

Back to Top