Health News of Monday, 22 September 2014

Source: Nabil Ahmed Rufai

Report: Ghana battles to control cholera outbreak

It started with an alert of a looming Cholera outbreak in the country in May 2014 by the Health Directorate of the regional capital of Ghana, Accra.

The major market centers and slums in the capital have been engulfed with filth for several months. It has become a difficult task for the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (A.M.A) to collect the average of 2,500 metric tonnes of refuse generated in the capital daily.

The Assembly is able to collect only 2,200 metric tonnes due to lack of proper waste disposal by citizens and inadequate dump sites. The uncollected waste finds its way into the drainage system and other open spaces. cholera11.jpg

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As the country entered its rainy season in June, the insanitary conditions in communities and market centers worsened. The hospitals in the capital, Korle Bu Teaching Hospital and La General Hospital began recording cases of Cholera in July. According to the Ghana Health Service over 10,000 cases have been recorded across the country with more than 100 deaths so far.

Nii Laryea, a Cholera patient receiving treatment at the La General Hospital recounts how he ended up there.

“I bought beans around my neighbourhood in La and a few hours after eating it, I started feeling pains in my stomach. I later visited the toilet five times. I asked my wife to get me some drugs at the pharmacy but after taking them, the situation didn’t improve. My wife had to rush me to the hospital the following day and I was diagnosed with Cholera. I have been here for two days.” cholera_patients1.jpg

Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal illness caused by a bacterium, Vibrio cholerae that can result in a profound and rapidly progressive dehydration and death.

The disease is contracted during the ingestion of water and food contaminated by infected human faeces. The government of Ghana has been overwhelmed by the Cholera outbreak as the country’s Health Service indicates that no case was recorded in 2013.

The Accra Metropolitan Assembly and the Ghana Health Service are advocating responsible citizenship in the fight against Cholera and tackling improper waste disposal.

President of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama together with governmental officials embarked on a clean-up exercise in some parts of the capital.

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The government plans to distribute free litter bins to every household to discourage the indiscriminate dumping of refuse. In spite of similar interventions made in the past to tackle the sanitation menace which has not yielded much positive results, the country is yet to implement measures to prosecute citizens who engage in indiscriminate waste disposal and selling of food under unhygienic conditions. foodselling_gutter.jpg

By: Nabil Ahmed Rufai, Freelance Journalist
Email: [email protected]