By Fred Kiva
The cholera infection rates are going down in Hoima district, health officials have said.
The Midwestern Uganda district has been battling the deadly epidemic since early February along the Lake Albert shores. 35people have died, while about 1500 others have since been hospitalized.
However, by Friday, the number of new cases had gone down to 24 according to the district health officer, Dr. Joseph Ruyonga.
“I may not give you statistics now, but generally the new infection curve is going down,” Dr. Ruyonga said.
He attributed this trend to dedicated efforts in case management, an active surveillance system in villages and improved hygiene and sanitation. The district in collaboration with development partners is also distributing Aqua tablets to help in treatment of water for community consumption.
Poor drinking water has been to blame for ill-health disease outbreaks along the Lake Albert shoreline as communities use the contaminated Lake water for drinking and home consumption.
Dr. Ruyonga also revealed that communities are being discouraged from settling along the coastline, where soils are fragile and unable to support pit-latrine construction.
The latest Cholera outbreak was first reported in Kyangwali Refugee Settlement Camp in Kyangwali Sub County. The outbreak is blamed on the recent refugee influx into the district. Health officials say some of the refugees fleeing ethnic clashes in DR. Congo were Cholera infected, thus spreading the disease to Uganda.
Currently, the disease has spread to neighbouring Kabwoya Sub County and some parts of Hoima Municipality.
The Resident District Commissioner, John Stephen Ekoom, said security has heightened surveillance along the Uganda-DR Congo border to ensure that all refugees entering Uganda are screened.
Congolese Refugees continue fleeing to Uganda despite reports that elders of the conflicting Hema and Bagegere communities had intervened and quelled the fighting.
At the time of filing this story, reports from Hoima indicated that about 500 more refugees had entered Uganda through Lake Albert.