Angola has slashed the incidence of cholera so far this year, despite major flooding that normally heightens the risk of the water-borne disease, World Health Organisation data released Monday showed.
In the first five months of 2008, the WHO detected 7,740 cases of cholera with 198 fatalities in Angola.
AdvertisementBut in the same period this year, the WHO has only recorded 681 cases and three deaths, with only five of Angola's 18 provinces affected.
The WHO credited the drop to community education and improved sanitation.
"Since cholera is mainly transmitted by contaminated water and food, as well as by poor environmental management, improvement made by the local government at these services had a great impact in the control of the disease," a spokesman said.
The data covers only cases recorded at hospitals, excluding many patients who never receive treatment, said Karen Hvid, the Angola representative of the International Federation of the Red Cross.
"There are many communities which don't have easy access to hospitals, but these figures certainly show a decrease," she told AFP.
"This is a remarkable improvement. Basic community education by the Ministry of Health, the Red Cross and others in partnership has played a key role in raising awareness about preventing cholera."
Cholera is most prevalent in Angola between January and mid-May during the rainy season, when stagnant water gathers in communities, particularly urban slum areas with little or no drainage and poor sanitation.
According to UNICEF, 10.5 million Angolans, more than half the population, have no access to sanitation, but the government is investing hundreds of millions of dollars to increase access.