“Ghana Is ‘Ripe’ For More Cholera Outbreaks”

Ghana is to brace itself for more outbreaks of Cholera considering the prevailing sanitation conditions in the country. Over the last few years, the West African nation has annually suffered an outbreak of the deadly Cholera disease that has led to the death of hundreds of its citizens.

In August 2013, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Weekly Epidemiology Record reported, a cumulative total of 245,393 cases including 3034 deaths with a case-fatality rate of 1.2% from all regions of the world. In 2012, a total of 48 countries from all continents reported cholera cases to the World Health Organization, a 17% decrease in the number of countries compared with 2011. From the African continent, 27 countries reported cases.

Ghana alone has since the beginning of 2014 recorded about 1,733 cholera cases with 20 deaths from the disease.

While the situation remains a major concern to health workers and the general citizenry, a disease control officer at the Disease Control Unit of the Ghana Health Service, Mr. Michael Adjabeng has hinted that Ghana’s may suffer more incidents of Cholera should the sanitation condition in the country remain the same.

Speaking in an interview with Jonas Nyabor, host of Radio Univers’ health literacy talk show, Good Health, Mr. Adjabeng stated that the “the Cholera Vibrio germ is such that it can easily survive in a ripe environment like what we are seeing now; with the poor sanitation and poor personal hygienic practices, it will take some time to have an environment free of the germ”.

Mr. Adjabeng added that, there was the need for more collaborative work between the various stakeholders including authorities in environmental sanitation, communication and the like to help disseminate information on the disease to the general public.

Cholera is an infectious bacterial disease caused by Vibrio cholera and attacks the small intestine. In sub-saharan Africa, the disease has led to tens of thousands of people primarily due to poor sanitation.

The disease is characterized by painless diarrhea, muscle cramps, low blood pressure, severe hydration and thirst.

It can be contracted through risk factors like poor personal, food and sanitation hygiene, floods leading to contaminated domestic water source, break down water pipes and improper waste disposal system and eating cold food.

Eating contaminated, raw fruits and vegetable foods without washing them properly with safe water, drinking contaminated water and attending to a person who has the cholera disease and not washing hands properly with soap and running water are ways through which the sickness is transmitted.

Jonas Nyabor

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