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CHOLERA IN YEMEN: A CASE STUDY OF EPIDEMIC PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE
Working Paper

The cholera response in Yemen was and remains extremely complicated and challenging for a variety of political, security, cultural, and environmental reasons. The study team recognizes these challenges and commends the government, international and national organizations, and the donors for working to find solutions in such a difficult context. There are no easy fixes to these challenges, and the conclusions and recommendations are meant to be constructive and practical, taking into account the extreme limitations of working in Yemen during an active conflict. The findings were consistent across respondents and methods. The study team found that several areas gained strength throughout the second wave, including: an extensive operational footprint which reached into insecure areas; the strengthening of the collaborations between WHO and UNICEF and the health and WASH clusters; the initiation of a funding mechanism through the World Bank which enabled a timely response at scale; the revitalization of the WASH strategy; and, eventual consensus and use of OCV. Conversely, the major gaps of this response are rooted in weaknesses in preparedness and the early strategies developed in the first wave. An after-action review after the first wave could have institutionalized these areas in order to prevent a much larger second wave. The World Bank’s commitment to the cholera response provides the rationale for major investment in bolstering the preparedness activities in Yemen and other conflictaffected contexts which would go far for addressing the foundational gaps discussed in this case study.

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