Ethiopia has announced a free 24/7 hour emergency hotline to deal with an outbreak of water borne disease that has affected parts of its second largest region, the Somali regional state.

The emergency hotline numbers 952 and 8335 were announced after Acute Water Diarrhea (AWD) outbreak in the eastern Ethiopia region killed an unspecified number of people according to Yifru Berhan, Ethiopian minister of Health during a press conference he gave on Friday at the ministry’s head office in Addis Ababa.

“The outbreak came from three directions, one from people coming from Kenya, another from Somalia and a third one through travelers coming from the Ethiopian hinterland,” said Berhan.

The ministry says it has currently deployed around 500 health professionals, and together with the Somali region administration is treating about 260 patients every day.

With around 5.8 million people needing food aid in Ethiopia due to droughts, a significant number of this in the largely pastoral Somali region, Berhan says the two factors are exacerbating the outbreak.

Though the ministry says so far the disease outbreak has been restricted to one region, it warns if the population does not take health precautions it can move to other areas including the capital Addis Ababa.

Last year an outbreak of AWD in Addis Ababa and other regions in Ethiopia caused a health scare and led to the deaths of several people before a government supported health campaign eradicated it. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh