Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A new cholera outbreak in Uganda

This outbreak is not nearly as a bad as Zimbabwe, but there are cholera infections in a region of Uganda. The government there is making radio announcements and conducting door to door visits to warn people on how to avoid the disease.

Warom Felix Okello of the Daily Monitor online says that poor sanitation and poor food safety are to blame.

In just a month, over 38 cases have been registered, mainly in the division, including three deaths district-wide. Statistics indicate that 28 people have been admitted at Oli Health Centre with one death case. “Oli Health Centre has become Arua’s referral hospital with overcrowding of patients,” The Municipal Health officer Dr Paul Onzubo said.

The spectrum of a return of the disease annually has raised widespread fear. District officials believe that several local people were infected by sub-standard sale of food and are paying the price.

An economic meltdown has left urban residents with uncollected garbage and severe water cuts, forcing many desperate families to fetch unclean water from shallow wells. The Medecines Sans Frontieres (MSF) team is working closely with the district health team to contain the dreadful disease.

And on a dusty back street heaped with piles of uncollected refuse not far from Oli Health Centre, residents at the road side said, “Cholera is threatening us. Where is our Mayor?”

Cholera is an acute intestinal infection spread by contaminated water and food. It is now endemic in the area, notably Oli and Ajia Sub County. These areas experienced strong torrential rain that run through the small, muddy alleys, invading each household and leaving filthy rubbish in its wake. Contents from broken sewage pipes and latrines seep into the floodwaters, raising the risk of cholera.

Previously, the Arua Mayor Mr Charles Asiki said the Municipal faces problems of garbage collection due to population density. He said this has made it difficult to control dumping of wastes.

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