Less than 48 hours after the World Health Organization (WHO) sounded alarm over the spread of a cholera, which has killed 528 people and now affects 20 of the 26 provinces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a senior Uganda Health Ministry official has issued an alert to its people near the western border.
“Whereas currently there’s no Cholera outbreak in Uganda, the Ministry of Health urges district leadership especially at the DRC border, to heighten surveillance, intensify health education and awareness campaigns, intensify community inspection to minimize the risk of outbreak,” Vivian Nakalika Sserwanja, spokesperson of the ministry of health said in statement.
Ms. Serwanja (pictured up) has cautioned people to improve their hygiene as a method of stopping the spread of the disease.
“The public is advised to observe good general hygiene and sanitation around homes,boil all drinking water and seek early treatment from the nearest Health Facility in case of any symptoms,” the government added.
Other cholera high risk populations are peri-urban slum dwellers, landslide- and flood-prone communities, migratory plantation farmers and street children.
In regards to cholera prevention and control, the country has made tremendous gains in the last two decades. The number of reported cholera cases, deaths and affected districts have reduced markedly.
In 1998 during the El Nino period, 43/45 districts (96%) reported cholera cases and deaths, however in 2016, a year with El Nino, 25/112 districts (22%) reported cases and deaths.
The disease already affects several towns in the east, west and north DRC. “The risk of spreading is still very high towards the Greater Kasai region (central DRC) where degraded health and safety conditions further increase vulnerability to this epidemic,” WHO warned on Saturday.
It has neither a cure nor a vaccine.
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