By Abraham Kizza
The Ministry of Health has confirmed an outbreak of Cholera in Nyakiyumbu Subcounty, Kasese District.
According to a statement released on Monday, a total of 73 suspected cases have so far been reported, 53 of whom have been discharged while 17 are still receiving treatment at Bwera Hospital. Unfortunately, three deaths have been registered.
“In order to avert further spread of the disease, an isolation ward has been set up at Bwera hospital, where all suspected cases are currently receiving treatment. The Ministry of Health has dispatched a consignment of medical supplies to Kasese district to beef up response efforts to contain the outbreak,” the statement reads in part.
“Health workers have also been oriented and supported to follow up cases at household level, to avert further spread, the statement continues.
Cholera is a serious acute infectious disease characterized by watery diarrhea, vomiting and kills a person within hours.
It can be spread through eating and drinking foods contaminated with faeces of an infected person. Other factors responsible for its spread include; poor personal hygiene, using contaminated water, poor sanitation as occurs in open defecation, eating food or drinks prepared under unhygienic conditions and poor personal hygiene especially not washing hands after visiting the latrines.
As Uganda continues to experience heavy rains, similar incidents are bound to occur in different parts of the country.
The rains are expected to cause massive flooding and washing away of pit-latrines, contamination of water sources, landslides, destruction of feeder roads, extensive erosion and mudslides, destruction of homes and food supplies at varying levels in the affected districts.
“The incidence of infectious and communicable diseases such as Malaria, Cholera, Typhoid, Bilharzia and Dysentery will rise to outbreak levels in many districts,” the statement continues.
The Ministry of Health therefore appeals to the district officials to; increase disease surveillance due to expected upsurges of epidemics related to rainy season such as, Cholera, bilharzia, typhoid and Malaria; intensify heath education and awareness campaigns emphasizing the use of mosquito nets, slashing bushes, disposing open containers, filling open pits around homes, draining of stagnant water to reduce malaria and other infectious diseases.
District officials should also intensify health inspection in all communities, especially in the high-risk areas; map out high-risk areas for emergency intervention and open up all rain water drainage sources.
The ministry also appeals to the general public to; observe good general Hygiene and Sanitation around homes and schools; boil all drinking water or drink chlorinated water, as water sources are likely to be affected; seek early treatment from the nearest Health Facility in case of illness and sleep under mosquito nets to avoid Malaria.