Cholera outbreak declines

The recent outbreak of cholera, which hit four regions in the country, claiming about 94 lives, has subsided with Greater Accra Region still being an active site for few recorded cases.

Greater Accra Region, last week recorded 103 new cases but stool samples examined at the National Public Health Reference Laboratory at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, were tested negative for cholera bacteria.

“This indicates that we may be dealing with ordinary diarrhea cases. If during the course of this week stool samples collected from patients do not present with classical signs and symptoms of diarrhea from cholera turn out to be negative, we will be confident that the current outbreak had contained in the region as well,” Mr Joseph Robert Mettle-Nunoo, Deputy Minister of Health, said in Accra on Tuesday.

The Deputy Minister was speaking at a press briefing by the Cholera Task-force and the National Technical Coordinating Committee for an update on the current health situation.

The other regions that have had their situations contained are Eastern, Central, Northern and Upper West.

The Deputy Health Minister noted that a cumulative total of 8,494 cases had been recorded and there was the need to have a zero tolerance for death despite its environmental causes.

He called for the intensification of the implementation of control and containment activities currently being used with onset of the rains, which was likely to present challenges in the form of contamination of sources of water and aggravation of the already poor environmental sanitation situation.

“Our collective responsibility as a nation to sanitation and a viable safe environment for the promotion of good health standards is on trial,” Mr Mettle-Nunoo said.

Mr Mettle-Nunoo called for the re-introduction of personal hygiene inspections in basic schools by the Ghana Education Service to help improve personal hygiene practice, which had been missing for some time.

Dr George Amofa, Acting Director-General of Ghana Health Service, noted that cholera was not a health issue but came about as a result of poor water and unsanitary conditions and negative attitude, and advised people to ensure sound hygienic environment.

He expressed regret about the number of deaths and noted that the outbreak of the disease had a cycle of six to seven years since its outbreak in 1971, and was gradually reducing to three years since 2004.

“If we are not careful, we will be experiencing it annually and it will be difficult to contain it,” he said.

Mr Baba Jamal, Deputy Minister of Information, reiterated the need for people to change their attitudes and adopt personal hygiene to prevent cholera outbreak, and said there was the need to provide the people with potable water.

Source: GNA

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