CoW assisting in fight against cholera

28 Feb 2014 17:40pm
WINDHOEK, 28 FEB (NAMPA) - The City of Windhoek (CoW) has provided street maps for the tracing and plotting of cholera cases, as well as decontamination agents to the Ministry of Health and Social Services.
Speaking during the monthly council meeting here on Thursday, Windhoek Mayor Agnes Kafula said the City has made provision for decontamination agents to be utilised at cholera treatment centres; as well as sanitation facilities, water containers and ambulance standby services solely for the transportation of cholera patients.
This comes after a cholera outbreak was reported in Windhoek earlier this month. Since 11 February, 38 suspected cholera cases have been recorded at the Windhoek Central and Katutura State Hospitals, with three cases being confirmed as cholera.
Kafula said the City has also made provision for solid waste management, social mobilisation and public awareness campaigns.
Cholera is an infection of the small intestine caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae.
The main symptoms are watery diarrhoea and vomiting. Transmission occurs primarily by drinking water or eating food that has been contaminated by the faeces (waste product) of an infected person, including one with no apparent symptoms.
The severity of the diarrhoea and vomiting can lead to rapid dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, and death in some cases. The primary treatment is oral rehydration therapy, typically with oral rehydration solution, to replace water and electrolytes.
“This deadly disease can be prevented by providing safe drinking water, proper sanitation and food safety,” Kafula indicated.
She further noted that health education is needed at community level for people to adopt preventative behaviour, and in so doing prevent contamination as one of the measures to control the occurrence of cholera.
“We are therefore being urged to be on alert. Visit the nearest health centre as soon as you suspect that you have cholera symptoms as detailed by the Ministry of Health and Social Services,” she stated.
The first cholera cases were reported in Opuwo in the Kunene Region.
By mid-February, the number of people treated for cholera symptoms in the Kunene Region since last November stood at 479. The death toll stood at 15 people.
The worst hit area was Etanga village in the Epupa Constituency.