The Cape Coast Metropolitan Assembly in the Central Region recorded its first cholera case on October 21, 2016, when a patient reported at the University of Cape Coast Hospital.
As of Monday, November 1, a total of 157 cholera cases have been diagnosed in the Metropolis with no death recorded.
The Director of Public Health at the Ghana Heath Service (GHS), Dr Badu-Sarkodie attributed the no death record to the fact that patients report early for treatment.
At the beginning of the wet season in the country, a lot of measures were put in place to prevent a cholera outbreak from occurring.
The Ministry of Health, Ghana Health Service and other appropriate stakeholders worked hand in hand to ensure that very few cases were recorded. The Deputy Minister of Health Dr Victor Bampoe said that most of the efforts to reduce the cases were concentrated in the Greater Accra Region.
“What we have noticed is that the case starts from Greater Accra and then spread out. So when we got the money from DANIDA the initial focus was to strengthen our response in Greater Accra and then gradually spread it out.”
“Unfortunately this happened in Cape Coast but what it means is that all the learning that we did in 2014 in terms of setting up rapid response teams, getting the WASH interventions in place and all that have been activated. That is why the response has been much quicker and there’s been no death,” he added.
Unlike previous years, the outbreak did not start in the Greater Accra Region. But is this to say the authorities ignored every other region and concentrated only on getting the Greater Accra region every needed facility to curb an outbreak?
Dr Bampoe disagrees. He believes they had a plan to equip other regions with all the needed facilities with time.
Meanwhile, a representative from the World Health Organisation mentioned that currently, their aim is to “ensure that it doesn’t go beyond the area which has affected now so that efforts in the area can be maximised to curb the outbreak.”
Response activities conducted since the outbreak
• Public Health Emergency Management Committees at the Region and Metropolis have been activated.
• Rapid Response teams from the region and national levels have been deployed to support the metropolis in response.
• Public Education has intensified
• Surveillance has been enhanced
• There is a follow-up of cases to disinfect soiled materials and also educate neighbours of infected persons.
• Cholera treatment centres have been established for the management of the cases. One at the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital and the other at the regional hospital.
What you need to know about cholera
• It is found in the stool of infected people
• It is spread when the stool of an infected person gets into the water people drink or the food people eat
Signs or symptoms
• Frequent diarrhoea (3 or more loose or watery stools in a day)
• Infected person may or may not vomit
What to do if someone gets diarrhoea
• Start taking Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) immediately
• Continue to drink ORS while you make your way to a health centre
• If you are breastfeeding a baby with diarrhoea do not stop. Continue to breastfeed the baby till you get to a health centre for treatment.
Risk factors for cholera outbreaks
• Slums (urban and peri-urban)
• Poor environmental sanitations
• Poor personal hygiene
• Displaced populations with unsafe water supply and poor sanitation
• Floods leading to contamination of domestic water sources
• Broken down water and waste disposal facilities