Abysmal personal hygiene, cause of cholera outbreaks – Workshop Participants

Participants selected from cholera endemic areas in Accra at a three-day workshop have found abysmal personal hygiene and poor sanitation practices in communities as the main cause of cholera outbreaks.

They were also convinced that lack of capacity to control development and the provision of services were other contributory factors which worsened the spread of cholera diseases.

The programme was sponsored by the United Nation’s International Children Fund (UNICEF) and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development under the theme; “Cholera Control and Prevention, the Business of All.”

It brought together participants from the cholera endemic areas such as La, Madina, Agbogbloshie, Chorkor, Sukura, Russia, Dansoman, Abossey Okai, Fadama, Zongo and Bubiashie all in Accra.

The participants highlighted the need for a vigorous house-to-house visit by volunteers, Environmental Health Officers and other health officials to step up more hygiene education and to ensure that the indiscriminate dumping of refuse and defecating in drains and any available space would end.

Mr Jonas Kwadjoe Amanu, Chief Environmental Health Officer in-charge of the Greater Accra Region, said the country’s efforts to maintain environmental cleanliness would be enhanced if everyone took the responsibility to preach personal hygiene wherever they found themselves.

“If this is done much of our problems on cholera would be over,” he said.

Mr Amanu enumerated some of the causes of cholera as unsafe excreta disposal, insufficient water supply, poor hygiene practices and unhygienic breast-feeding of babies and high population density in slum communities.

He said children are the most vulnerable group because of their social interactions at events and in schools that provided fertile grounds for easy spreading of the disease into family members, friends and the community.

The Chief Environmental Officer said it was important for the communities to support health workers to contain the spread of the disease by following the necessary basic personal hygiene education advice.

He said regular hand washing with soap, especially after shaking hands with others before touching the mouth, could prevent one from getting cholera.

Another measure, Mr Amanu said, was to avoid close contact with cholera affected victims because the disease spread from one person to another.

He called on community volunteers to continue to play collaborative roles in assisting health workers to contain the spread of cholera.

The Chief Environmental Officer urged food vendors to maintain good personal hygiene and protect their food against contamination adding that; “it is only through good hygiene and keeping food safe that can save people from contracting the disease.” GNA

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