African News

Cholera Outbreak Rattles Accra

By  | 11 September 2014 at 08:24 | 2137 views

While Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia are rattled by an alarming upsurge in Ebola infections and high death rates, a cholera outbreak is ravaging Accra, capital of Ghana reaching pandemic levels, officials say. Authorities blame the current outbreak on poor sanitation and poverty that are common in the shantytowns and ghettos of the city. Overcrowded health centers are also aiding the rapid spread of the infection. The Vice President of Ghana, Kwesi Amissah-Arthur reports that 10,000 people have been infected with the disease and 95 have died so far.

He appealed to all Ghanaians to adopt and practice good sanitary and personal hygiene habits to help arrest the current spread of the hygiene- related disease in the nation.

Amissah-Arthur said the government is determined to halt the disease from spreading, adding that there is no place for cholera in Ghana in the 21st century. Earlier, Ghana had closed its borders to Ebola infected West African nations fearing that the deadly virus could easily be transported by migrants crossing the borders. He further urged Ghanaians to minimize human-to-human contact to avoid being infected with the deadly Ebola virus.

The Regional Director for the Ghanaian Health Services, Linda Van Otoo, said about 300 individuals are being infected daily with cholera, putting a strain on local healthcare centers.

"It is a total outbreak, and the cases in Accra keep increasing daily," Otoo stated. "We are in a pandemic situation and doing our best to deal with it."

However, President John Dramani Mahama’s government has constructed new roads and other facilities across Accra, the capital, but in neighborhoods hit by cholera people often attend to nature on beaches nearby. Residents often buy from traders selling food alongside overflowing gutters, officials say.

"People should wash their hands with tap water and soap and if possible avoid handshakes at public gatherings", Otoo said.

" Poverty is no excuse to be filthy or feel complacent with poor sanitation habits as a culture, as the ripple effects could be undesirable, posing health threats to others as well," Otoo concluded.