Upper East Minister Mark Woyongo interacting with one of the cholera patients

TWO PEOPLE have been confirmed dead in the latest outbreak of cholera in Navrongo in the Kasena-Nankana district of the Upper East region with more than 17 on admission.

There are fears the figures could rise as reports suggest an increase in the number of cases since the first case was reported late last week at the Navrongo War Government Hospital.

Hospital authorities DAILY GUIDE gathered have established an emergency cholera camp within the hospital to enable them contain the situation with reports of Nosignia, a farming community being the worst hit.

Over the last three years the district has been bedeviled with cholera epidemics in some rural communities due to inadequate sanitation and water treatment systems.

Residents in and around the district have been advised to desist from eating cold food while steps are underway to curtail the activities of food vendors to ensure the outbreak is brought under control.

Cholera is an acute filth related epidemic infectious disease caused by the bacterium vibrio cholerae resulting in profuse watery diarrhea, extreme loss of fluid and electrolytes, leading to severe dehydration and death within hours.   

Worldwide, cholera affects 3-5 million people and causes 100,000 to 130,000 deaths a year as of 2010. Due to severe dehydration, fatality rates are high when untreated, especially among children and infants.

Meanwhile, district directors of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) in the affected areas have asked local health educators and other volunteers to intensify personal hygiene and environmental cleanliness campaigns.

The epidemic broke out between May 27 and May 31 with the first fatality recorded on May 29. The deceased is reported to have refused to be admitted at the Navrongo War Memorial Hospital where he sought treatment. His condition worsened when he returned home resulting in his death.

However his wife who was also diagnosed with cholera was still on admission as at May 31.

In Kassena-Nankana West, the District GHS Director, Vida Abasega said the district recorded 14 cases between May 29 and 31 with one woman, losing her live.

Medical Superintendent at the Navrongo War Memorial Hospital, Dr. Abdulai Forgor said the exact cause of the outbreak in the two districts is yet to be known but did not rule out filthy surroundings as a factor.

According to him, the hospital and the GHS have started public education in the districts on cholera, personal and environmental hygiene.

He believes residents may have taken a cue for the campaign as the number of cases being reported at the hospital had declined. Upper East Regional Minister, Mark Woyongo who visited the   hospital has promised that the Regional Coordinating Council will support the two affected districts in their public education efforts.

He has also directed the district assemblies to use their information vans for announcements on the outbreak and the need for people to keep their surroundings clean.

One patient, who narrated her ordeal to the regional minister, said she was rushed to the hospital while returning home from church after buying and eating a meal of ‘kenkey’ along the way. She said she started feeling uncomfortable, and then had severe Diarrhoea.

 From: From Stephen Zoure, Tamale

And Ebo Bruce-Quansah, Navrongo

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