6.2 Cholera treatment units (CTU)

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    Like CTCs, CTUs are designed to treat both simple cases of cholera (oral treatment) and severe cases (IV treatment) and function 24 hours a day.


    CTUs are, however, much smaller than CTCs. The capacity of a CTU varies according to the context and needs. In certain situations, a CTU may have only 2 beds, but a CTU can have 10 and up to 30 beds [1] Citation 1. UNICEF Cholera Toolkit, 2013.
    [2] Citation 2. Haiti cholera training manual: a full course for healthcare providers. Ministry of Health and Population in Haiti/ U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. January 2011.


    A CTU is a simpler facility than a CTC in terms of installations.

    6.2.1 Choice of site and premises

    The criteria for choosing a site are the same as for a CTC (Section 6.1.1).

    6.2.2 Area required

    A bedridden patient requires about 4 m² and a seated patient about 2 m².

    6.2.3 Layout and equipment

    The main layout principles (isolation, entry/exit restrictions, and separation of “clean” and “contaminated” zones) are the same as for a CTC (Section 6.1) but, because of the fewer number of patients treated:


    1) The facility is simpler than a CTC:

    • Different patients (oral or IV treatment, adults or children, etc.) can be installed in the same space, whereas they would be in separate areas in a CTC. The sectorisation principle is however the same as in a CTC, e.g. children are preferably grouped together in the same area of the room or tent to facilitate surveillance.
    • Infrastructures such as the kitchen or laundry can be reduced to a minimum, for example:
      • The CTU provides dry rations or a space for attendants to cook for patients and attendants, or families may bring meals every day for patients depending on the context.
      • The CTU provides a washing area equipped with a water point and the attendants wash the laundry or dishes.
    • Besides these minimum provisions, the CTU must have its own latrines, showers, waste area and morgue.


    2) The equipment is adapted to needs, for example:

    • The storage of potable water can consist in a small water bladder (2000 litres) or 120 litres containers.
    • For lighting, a small generator can be used (800 VA - 3.3 KVA) or solar or kerosene lamps and medical staff can be provided with headlamps.

    6.2.4 Signage

    • Near the entrance to the CTU

    If the CTU is within the grounds of a hospital, post signs giving directions to the CTU so as to avoid cholera patients entering other services.

    • Inside the CTU
      • Put up signs indicating the zone forbidden to patients.
      • Label contents of containers: ORS, potable water, 0.05% chlorine solution for hand-washing.
      • Put up signs indicating men’s/women’s showers and latrines
      • Put up a No Entry sign to the excreta pit (it must not be used by patients).
      • Put up signs indicating the laundry or dish washing area, if applicable.