Cholera, diarrhea & dysentery update: Africa
DR Congo: Cholera outbreak hits Lubumbashi
60 people have been reportedly infected by a cholera outbreak in Lubumbashi [Katanga Province] in the last 10 days. Lubumbashi is the 2nd largest city of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The outbreak of the epidemic has been linked to poor hygiene in some municipalities.
Health officials are still to give a clear figure of the number of deaths recorded so far and are looking for ways to stop the spread of the disease by creating more awareness on hygienic measures. For now a centre specialized in the treatment of cholera has been opened to help in the handling of serious cases. The local Red Cross has been distributing products used for water treatment.
A press release from the office for the coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Lubumbashi indicates that the treatment centre has benefited from 30 beds as part of aid from a non-governmental organization.
The donation is expected to increase the capacity of the centre as the number of patients increase every day.
Lubumbashi, in the south-eastern part of Democratic Republic of the Congo, is the 2nd-largest city in the country, after the capital Kinshasa. Lubumbashi is the mining capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, acting as a hub for many of the country’s biggest mining companies. The copper-mining city serves as the capital of the relatively prosperous Katanga Province, lying near the border with Zambia.
Cholera – Ghana (Accra)
The Ministry of Health has issued a cholera alert ahead of the rains, confirming a case in Accra. In a public notice signed by the Deputy Health Minister, Dr. Victor Bampoe, the Ministry said some communities are still inundated with risk factors that promote the spread of cholera, hence the need for strict sanitary practices.
This correspondence is to formally notify all and serve as a reminder that, as the rains have set in, and some cities and towns might have experienced flooding, together with other existing risk factors, the potential and tendency for recurrence of cholera outbreak is very high, the notice stated.
The notice said other risk factors include “intense population movements, inadequate supply of safe water, poor food and personal hygiene practices”.
Cholera claimed over 200 lives about 2 years ago, which led to the introduction of the National Sanitation Day exercise. The number of recorded cases and deaths has only reduced slightly. In 2014, Greater Accra Region alone recorded 28 975 cholera cases with 243 deaths. But the number of cases reduced drastically in 2015 to 692 with 15 deaths.
The Public Relations Officer of the Health Ministry, Tony Goodman, who spoke to Citi News on the alert, indicated that there was no cause for alarm yet, as there was only one case of cholera recorded at the Achimota Hospital. He, however, noted that the Ministry of Health is embarking on a sensitization drive to aid in the prevention and spread of the disease.
“If our campaign together with the media is taken seriously, we are not supposed to see what we saw in 2015 and 2014; so we entreat you the media to keep drumming that message of cleaning our environment, keeping ourselves clean, washing our hands and all that.” He assured that the health facilities are ready to deal with an outbreak, but reiterated the fact that prevention is their priority. “For us, we are ready.
Cholera – Kenya (Tana River County)
At least 6 people, among them 4 children, have died of cholera in Tana River County. County health chief officer Hassan Komoro said the children died in Dida Ade Village on the outskirts of Garsen Town.
The children died on Tuesday, 12 Apr 2016, while undergoing treatment, a day after a middle-aged woman succumbed to the illness at Garsen Health Centre where she had been admitted. A man died at Witu Health Centre, Mr Komoro confirmed.
Tana Delta Sub-County Medical Officer of Health Nicholas Mwenda said several children were among people admitted to Garsen Health Centre with severe diarrhoea and vomiting. Dr Mwenda said 2 children had died.
One of them had been diagnosed with cholera but the medics were yet to establish the cause of death of the other child. “We expect a comprehensive report after further laboratory analysis and our team on the ground is managing the situation well,” he added.
Public health officers have been put on high alert and have been instructed to promote public awareness and surveillance around the county to stop the spread of the disease.
“We are considering closing down all restaurants and ban vending of food in public places, especially to travellers who pass through our trading centres,” said Mr Komoro.
He said this would ensure the disease does not spread to neighbouring Kilifi, Garissa and Lamu counties through travellers between Mombasa and Garissa via Garsen and Mombasa and to Lamu via Minjila.
Mr Komoro said cholera first broke out the Kipini Village last month [March 2016], where 80 people were taken ill. “All of them received instant treatment at the health centre, but our team remain vigilant because of fear the disease might still spread,” he added.
The officers have linked the cholera to fish that was brought into the village by fishermen from Pemba. “Cholera started when the Pemba fishermen landed there and sold fish to locals,” said the county health chief officer.
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