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34 die from cholera nationwide

The recent outbreak of cholera in the country claimed 34 lives with the Greater Accra Region recording 16 deaths, the highest number.

A total of 2,376 cases were recorded nationwide from September 2010 with the Greater Accra Region recording 1,670 cases.

Dr Joseph Amankwah, Director of Public Health of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), speaking on Tuesday during an emergency meeting of the National Disease and Epidemics Management Technical Committee, observed that drinking water sources in most parts of the country had been polluted and contaminated.

He noted that “the same taxis that are used to carry food items were also used to carry corpses to and fro mortuaries in a careless manner”.

“There is the need to create extra reception centres to assist the health authorities to accommodate the victims for treatment,” he said.

The meeting, which was organized by the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), was aimed at deliberating on the cholera outbreak and water and sanitation problems and also to find solutions to curb future occurrences.

Dr. Amankwah called on the general public to desist from refuse dumping within human settlements, defecating on the banks of water bodies and unhygienic ways of handling and selling food near open gutters since these had been identified as some of the causes of the epidemic.

Most of the reported cases in Accra involved people from Abossey Okai, Zongo and Agbobloshie since these communities have a lot of slums with poor sanitary conditions.

Dr Amankwa noted that though the GHS and other institutions had worked hard to contain the situation, there was still a lot more to be done to prevent further outbreaks.

Dr Elias Sory, Director-General of the GHS, assured the public that his outfit would do everything possible to provide quality health service delivery.

Dr. Sory appealed to the government to allocate adequate funds to the Health Promotion Department to facilitate its public education and sensitization on preventive measures.

Dr. Hanna Bisiw, Deputy Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, called on Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDA) and other law enforcement agencies to ensure that food vendors and sachet water producers adhered to the by-laws.

According to her, there was the need for attitudinal change in all sectors of the society and the most effective means to achieve this was to intensify and sustain public education.

Mr Kofi Portuphy, Coordinator of NADMO, urged the Accra Metropolitan Assembly to intensify its public education campaign on sanitation to help bring the situation under control.

Source: GNA

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