The Upper East Region in 2014 recorded 287 cholera cases with 9 deaths among 11 districts/municipalities out of the region’s 13 districts as against zero recorded in 2013. Bawku Municipality recorded the highest number of 112 cases with 4 deaths last year while Bongo district recording no case.
This year, 11 cholera cases have since been recorded in the region with 2 people losing their lives. Unfortunately the cases recorded this year came from Bongo district which recorded no single cholera case for the past five years.
This alarming case of cholera in the region keeps increasing as a result of residents attitude towards personal hygiene. Many houses in the region do not have toilet facilities and this situation compels tenants to defecate openly behind rocks, gutters and in plastic bags.
People’s attitude to managing the environment in most parts of the region is appalling. Some food vendors operate close to choked gutters and dumping sites that keep piling while authorities seat unconcern. These are factors that contribute to the increasing number of cholera cases in the region.
At a day encounter with media personnel in the region on cholera and Ebola viral prevention, Upper East Regional Deputy Director of Public Health, Joseph Opare cautioned individuals to be wary of the disease since it spreads like wild fire. According to him individuals can get cholera by drinking or eating food contaminated with the cholera bacteria. “Simply cholera spreads when one eats infected persons feces” he said.
Dr. Opare underscored the need for individuals to start taking Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) immediately one suspects cholera before seeking medical attention.
“Treatment of certain public diseases is supposed to be free of charge, you will pay for the folder but the medicine itself is free of charge and example of them (public diseases) is cholera” Dr. Opare stated.
In order to prevent the spread of cholera cases in the region Dr. Opare told the media personnel that the districts and regional health management team have embarked on house to house and community education on diseases including cholera.
Presenting a report on Ebola viral disease, the regional Deputy Director Public Health said the region in 2014 recorded 10 suspected cases but all the cases after laboratory test were negative. Unfortunately 2 people out of the 8 people purported to have been infected with the virus later died. According to him 554 health workers in all districts and municipalities in the region were trained to handle suspected Ebola cases.
Upper East Regional Director of Health Services, Dr. John Koku Awoonor Williams on his part commended the media in the region for playing an important role on educating and informing individuals in the region on health matters. Dr. Awoonor pledged his outfit’s readiness to work closely with the media in addressing health issues in the region and entreated them to seek accurate information from the right source when carrying out their mandate.
The one day media sensitization on cholera and Ebola was supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Georgina Amidu, communications for development officer of UNICEF said though there are reports that Ebola is getting eradicated in hard hit countries, the cases are resurfacing. She added that it is against this backdrop that her outfit is partnering the Ghana health service to build the capacity of individuals on Ebola and cholera through the media.
“UNICEF aside working with the media, we have also worked with some NGOs and CBOs to sensitize senior high schools all over the country both private and public on Ebola and cholera including those in the Upper East Region” Madam Amidu stated.
By: Joshua Asaah/A1radioonline.com/Ghana