Ghana: Cholera outbreak claims 54

Posted: March 17, 2011 in Health, Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

The outbreak of cholera in some parts of Ghana, including the capital, Accra, has claimed 54 lives out of the 3,286 reported cases, as of March 10, 2011.

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Asawase and Chairman for the Select Committee on Health, Alhaji Muntaka  Muhammed-Mubarak told Parliament yesterday in a statement on cholera outbreak in the country.The situation, according to him, has a fatality rate of 1.6% reported cases in 26 districts of the four affected regions since September 2010. Alarmed by this, Alhaji Muntaka called on the Ministry of Health and other relevant agencies to make the issue a priority and also see it as national disaster to stop people from dying.

“Mr. Speaker, 54 deaths in six months is a very serious epidemic which requires urgent attention,” he stressed. The Greater Accra Region tops the list of number of districts affected by the Cholera outbreak, recording 10 out of the 26.

The Eastern Region follows with 8 districts whilst Central region has seven districts affected by the outbreak. The Upper West has the least reported cases, coming from one district affected by the disease.

Cholera is an acute bacterial intestinal disease characterized by sudden onset of profuse painless watery diarrhoea, occasional vomiting, rapid dehydration and circulatory collapse. It is caused by bacteria called Vibrio Cholera.

The first case in the Central Region was reported in September, 2010 in Bawdwiase in the Awutu-Senya District. In that same region, the outbreak was first reported in the East Akim District in October, 2010 whilst the Greater Accra Region recorded its first reported case in the Ga South Municipality in November, 2010. The Jirapa District in the Upper West

Region had its first reported case in February, 2011.
Alhaji Muntaka said though the Ghana Health Service has put in measures to deal with the issue, their approach have been thwarted due to lack of potable water, poor personal and food hygiene, indiscriminate defecation, selling of food near open drainages, as well as urban slums and poor environmental sanitation.

The prevention and control of cholera, according to Alhaji Muntaka, requires an integrated multi-sectoral approach, since the control of most of the risk factors are beyond the health sector.

He said available information from the GHS indicates that efforts at getting other MDAs provided the needed essential services as quickly as possible have proven very difficult.

For instance, he said the enforcement of bye-laws by the Districts Assemblies on sanitation and food hygiene and provision of potable water by the relevant agencies are critical for the control of cholera outbreaks.
The Asawase Legislator said the National Cholera Prevention and Control Plan (2010-2011) has been developed and disseminated to key stakeholders in the country’s bid to control the disease.

The thematic areas include public education, effective surveillance system and effective case management, provision of safe water, sustainable improved waste management and general environmental sanitation.

Contributing to the statement on the floor of Parliament, the MP for Ashaiman, Alfred Kwame Agbesi said the opening of the spill ways in both the Bagri Dam in Burkina Faso and the Akosombo Dam, which led to floods in most low lying areas contributed to the outbreak of the disease in the country.

MP for Ablekuma South, Frederic Fritz Baffour in his contribution to the statement said if filth was not done away with in the various communities, the country will continue to witness such epidemics.

Ms Cecelia Abena Dapaah, MP for Bantama tasked the public to wash their hands thoroughly with soap under running water, since poor personal hygiene contributes a lot to the outbreak of the disease.

The Minister of Water Resources Works and Housing, Hon. Alban Bagbin, in his contribution called for attitudinal and behavioral changes about the environment, since it is the antidote to healthy life.

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