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Cholera Claims 6 Lives In Accra   
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Mr Philip Afeti Korto
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The La General Hospital in Accra is battling with cholera cases in overwhelming numbers. So far,192 cases have been reported in the past two weeks, out of which six of them have died.

According to hospital officials,four of the people were brought in already dead.

The patients were brought in from Teshie, Nungua, Osu, Labone, Spintex, and Legon, while others are referral cases from other health facilities.

The overwhelming number has forced the hospital to organise its infrastructure cordoning the Outpatients Department (OPD) for only cholera cases, since the cholera bay has only 12 beds.

Currently, all OPD cases are attended to at a temporary place, while the hospitals Psychiatric Unit has been converted into a temporary OPD for children.

The idea is to ensure that other sick people are not contaminated by those already affected by cholera.

No cause for alarm
But the Senior Health Service Administrator at the hospital, Mr Philip Afeti Korto, gave an assurance that the hospital was capable of handling the cases and so there was no cause for alarm.

He said some of the patients who were brought in early were treated and discharged,while those whose conditions were not stable had been admitted for treatment.

asked when the hospital started receiving the cholera cases, Mr Korto said, “It was after the two heavy rains recently. We started having the cases about a week or two ago. They started coming in small numbers until now when the numbers have increased.”

Cause of cholera
He explained that cholera was a bacteria that came through when a water body or food was contaminated with fecal matter coming from an infected person.

“The advice we are giving to the public is that people should develop the habit of hand-washing with carbolic soap and watch what they eat and where they eat from. Also, they must watch the water they drink.

“This time round, people should avoid taking cold food. The should warm their food and if they are not sure of the source of water, they should boil it,” he said.

Efforts by the hospital
The La/Dadekotopon Municipal Director of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Vera Opata, explained that the hospital had to “rearrange the place in such a way that we can take maximum care of those arriving with cholera. We are currently nursing the cholera patients in the OPD and that place has become a no-go area for other clients who have been provided with a temporary place within the hospital”.

She was not happy about rumours that the hospital was rejecting patients with other conditions.

“Everybody is getting attention. We don’t reject anybody; we see clients with all kinds of diseases and refer some patients to other health facilities,” she said.

Dr Opata explained that the hospital was challenged by infrastructure deficit and, therefore, had to make do with make-shift arrangements to ensure that every patient sent to the facility was adequately taken care of.

“Our concern is to ensure that all clients brought to the facility are given the best of care and I think staff of the hospital should be commended for the selfless manner in which they are working,” she said.

Early reporting
Dr Opata advised the public to report suspected cholera cases to the nearest health facilities, stressing that early reporting was very critical to treating the disease.

She commended the municipal assembly for supporting the hospital with mattresses to enable it to cope with the large numbers and also for the environmental and communication units to educate the public on the outbreak.

Meanwhile, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Ebenezer Appiah-Denkyira, said so far 369 cholera cases had been reported nation-wide, out of which 350 are in the Greater Accra, adding, “The good news is that mortality so far has been minimal, compared with the previous outbreaks.”

He, however, warned that the disease was not yet at its peak, and explained that it would be more pronounced when there were more rains.
Source: Daily Graphic

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