Ghana has been experiencing a series of widespread Cholera outbreaks in recent times. In 2014, all regions confirmed cholera outbreak(s) during the year and 130 (60.2%) of districts were affected. Subsequently, there have been pockets of outbreaks with most recent in 2016 and early part of 2017 affecting Ashanti region, Greater Accra region and Cape Coast Metropolis of Central region.
With the onset of the rains and potential flooding in some of the communities, the risk is further worsened and brings the situation to a high alert, the Ghana Health Services in an alert correspondence to its regional directors and surveillance last Friday (28th April) have said.
The communique signed by the director of GHS Dr. Anthony Nsiah Asare, acknowledged that the cities and other communities are still inundated with risk factors such as
- Intense population movements to and from the metropolis
- Poor sanitation, particularly in the urban communities
- Inadequate supply of safe water
- Poor food and personal hygiene practices
These activities pose risks for the recurrence of cholera outbreaks, hence the need for proactive measures for prevention, and preparedness to response.
It has therefore prompted all facilities across the country to update it’s emergency preparedness and response plans on cholera and other diarrhoeas and take further steps to intensify it’s surveillance on diarrhoea diseases with weekly reporting of all cases of acute watery diarrhoea using approved guidelines.
The GHS also cautioned all cases of severe watery diarrhoea particularly, in children above five and adults to be thoroughly investigated for early detection of cholera.
It urged the that public education on the prevention of cholera/diarrhoea diseases be ensure while engaging and initiating advocacy dialogue with relevant institutions for the provision of social services (water and sanitation in particular)
All suspected cases should be immediately reported while investigations are ongoing, the alert advised.
Protecting yourself and your family from cholera
Drink and use safe water. Safe water is water that is bottled with an unbroken seal, has been boiled, or has been treated with a chlorine product.
Wash hands often with soap and safe water.
If no soap is available, scrub hands often with ash or sand and rinse with safe water.
Use latrines or bury your feces (poop), do not defecate in any body of water.
Cook food well (especially seafood), eat it hot, keep it covered, and peel fruits and vegetables.
Clean up safely—in the kitchen and in places where your family bathes and washes clothes.
What to do if you or your family are ill with diarrhea
If you have oral rehydration solution (ORS), start taking it now; it can save your life.
Go immediately to the nearest health facility.
Continue to drink ORS at home and while you travel to get treatment.
Continue to breastfeed your baby if they have watery diarrhea, even when traveling to get treatment.