Health alert 591 cholera cases, 5 deaths recorded

The reported cases has been linked to the unhygienic conditions residents of the flood disaster have been living in.

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World Health Organization (WHO) Situational Report on Cholera Outbreak in Ghana indicates the country has recorded some 591 confirmed cholera cases with five deaths between January and May this year alone.

The report noted that cases were recorded in 29 districts across eight regions over the period. The only regions spared were Northern and Upper East.

It noted that this year’s cases were a spill-over from the massive cholera outbreak last year, which saw a gargantuan 28,975 cases with 243 deaths, the largest the country has ever experienced in one year.

Greater-Accra region, which was mentioned as the epicenter of the outbreak last year, continued to lead the pack this year with 264 cases and four deaths by the close of 21 week of the year, followed closely by Eastern region with 200 confirmed cases but no deaths.

Western Region, which was next in line with 51 cases, and one death so far, while Volta Region followed with 45 cases, Central Region with 12 cases, Brong-Ahafo with nine, Ashanti with eight, and Upper West with two cases, but all without any deaths.

But in 2014, even when the country recorded the highest number of cases, the case fatality rate (CFR) stood at 0.8 per cent, which was lower than the global one per cent unacceptable rate. And the 2015 figures means the CFR is still 0.8 per cent.

WHO noted that “active transmission of the disease is still going on in the Greater-Accra region…However the cases have been on the decline.”

Meanwhile, it has been estimated that Ghana loses about USD290 million because of her inability to make improved sanitation and hygiene services available to the population, according to the Water and Sanitation Program of the World Bank.

Mr Benjamin Arthur, Executive Secretary of Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS), expressed concern about the inadequate resource allocation in the 2015 National Budget to deal with the issue.

Mr. Arthur said, “Approximately 19,000 people including 5,100 children under the age of five die each year of diarrhoea, nearly 90% of which is directly attributed to poor water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services.”

He added that “USD54 million is lost each year in accessing health services.”

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