Health alert! Cholera outbreak looms across Ghana

The Ghana Health Service has issued a cholera alert, warning of a possible widespread outbreak across the country in the coming days. A statement signed and issued by its Director General, Anthony Nsiah-Asare, said considering the pockets of cholera outbreaks early this year and previously in 2014 and 2016, “the risk is further worsened and brings the situation to high alert”. In 2014, all the 10 regions recorded confirmed cases of cholera and 130 (60.2%) of districts were affected. There have also been pockets of outbreaks in 2016 and early part of 2017 affecting Ashanti, Greater Accra and Central regions. According to the Ghana Health Service, the onset of the rains and potential flooding in some of the communities is likely to cause an outbreak. It has consequently notified all regional directors of the Service to put in place proactive measures for prevention and prepare to respond to possible cases that will be recorded at the various health facilities across the country. “As the rains have set in and some cities and towns experiencing some degree of flooding, together with other prevalent risk factors for cholera, the likelihood for recurrence of cholera outbreaks is very high,” the alert stated.

Risk factors • Intense population movements to and from the metropolis • Poor sanitation, particularly in the urban communities • Inadequate supply of safe water • Poor food and personal hygiene practices
“We however do request all regions to take further steps to intensify diarrhoea surveillance and make extra efforts to identify the etiologic agent responsible through laboratory investigations.
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Health facilities are required to take the following steps • Enhanced surveillance on diarrhoea diseases with weekly reporting of all cases of acute watery diarrhoea using the 2nd Edition IDSR technical guidelines reporting tools • All cases of severe watery diarrhoea particularly, in children above five and adults should be thoroughly investigated for early detection of cholera. • Update your emergency preparedness and response plans on cholera and other diarrhoeas • Mount public education on the prevention of cholera/diarrhoea diseases • Engage and initiate advocacy dialogue with MMDAs, Water Sector and other relevant institutions for the provision of social services (water and sanitation in particular) By|Ghana]]>