Public urged to improve personal hygiene, environmental sanitation to check cholera spread

The health authorities are urging the public to improve their personal hygiene and environmental sanitation as cholera continues to spread.

A statement signed by Mr Robert J. Mettle Nunoo, Deputy Minister of Health, in Accra on Monday, said since September 2010, cholera outbreaks had been reported in Greater Accra, Central, Eastern and Upper West regions.

It said as at March 17, a cumulative total of 3,915 cases with 60 deaths had been reported from 27 districts.

“The possibility of the outbreak spreading to other parts of the country due to the early onset of the rains coupled with poor environmental sanitation, inadequate safe water, poor food and personal hygiene practices, is very high,” the statement said.

It said in addition to strengthening the surveillance and proper management of cases, the health sector was using multiple media to reach the general public.

The ministry reiterated that cholera was transmitted through the use or ingestion of water contaminated with faeces, vomitus of patients and to a lesser extent of carriers; contaminated foods; fruits and vegetables, especially those grown by irrigation with waste water and when fruits and vegetables are eaten raw.

It said to prevent further spread, members of public should remember to wash their hands with soap and water before preparing food, eating or after visiting the toilet and latrines; wash plates, cups, cutlery and utensils with soap and water before use; and boil drinking water and keep it in clean covered containers, or disinfect water with chlorine.

The Ministry advised that food should be cooked before being eaten and it should be eaten hot; food that is cold and left uncovered should not be eaten while all fruits should be washed thoroughly before being eaten.

It said when the chamber pot is used, the faeces should be emptied into a toilet or a hole in the ground and covered immediately; people should not defecate on the open ground, especially near water sources such as rivers, streams and wells.

The Ministry urged the public to maintain good personal hygiene, keep surroundings clean and in case of acute diarrhoea, the patient should start with Oral Rehydration Salt (ORS) before going to the health centre or hospital.

Source: GNA

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