Dr Linda Van-Otoo
FIFTY-ONE persons in the Greater Accra Region have so far lost their lives as a result of the recent deadly cholera outbreak, reports Dr. Linda Van-Otoo, Regional Director of Health Services.
‘The Greater Accra Region has so far recorded 6,179 cases of cholera and 51 deaths out of this number,’ according to her.
The cases are mostly in the capital city where health facilities have been inundated with patients and still counting.
Dr. Van-Ottoo was speaking at the inauguration of the Greater Accra Regional Coordinating Council Sanitation Task Force yesterday in Accra.
She indicated that the region was near recording a total of 10,000 cases since the outbreak in June.
‘All the health centres within the region are recording about 300 cases daily and over 1,000 cases weekly,’ Dr. Van-Otoo disclosed.
According to her, a lot of the cases in the region were happening in the slums, business districts and places where people have poor access to toilet facilities and potable water.
Giving an overview about the cholera situation in the region over the last eight years, she stated that in 2007, there were seven cases recorded with no death.
According to her, ‘In 2008, there were 823 cases with no death reported; 2009 had 431 cases with 12 deaths; 2010 had seven cases with no death; 2011, we recorded over 9,000 cases with 72 deaths; 2012 there was close to 7,000 cases with 48 deaths; 2013 recorded 22 cases with no death.’
She disclosed that 50% of the cases were coming from the sub-metros, adding that ‘most people that are dying are the active ones who are in the working age group.’
‘All Hands On Deck’
She noted that bringing an end to the situation required a sound collaboration among the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and other relevant stakeholders, including the media.
‘GHS alone cannot solve the problem. We need a lot of community education and community outreach programmes which the media can champion,’ she underscored.
Cholera causes diarrhoea, dehydration and death if left untreated. It is transmitted by ingesting food or drink contaminated with human waste.
The cholera outbreak had been attributed to poor sanitation by city authorities.
They claimed that residents had refused to adhere to proper sanitation measures.
But residents also strongly believe that the problem had been caused by authorities’ failure to enforce sanitation bylaws on a regular basis.
Meanwhile, the Greater Accra Regional Minister, Nii Laryea Afotey-Agbo, had stated that, ‘Health facilities in the region are overwhelmed with the ever-increasing cases of cholera being recorded by the hour.’
Outlining measures to address the issue, the minister ordered that ‘…all MMDAs are to provide final disposal sites for garbage generated in their districts.’
The Mayor of Accra, Alfred Oko Vanderpuye, stated that the tariff per household for refuse collection had been revised.
According to him, ‘First class residential areas within the city are to pay GH¢100 per month; second class areas, GH¢60.00; 3rd and 4 th class residential areas like Chorkor and Korle Gonno, are to pay GH¢20 per month; whilst industries are to pay GH¢200 per month and commercial entities, GH¢150.’
BY Melvin Tarlue
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