Health experts in Cameroon have said a rise in water levels and contaminated water is responsible for the resurgence of cholera epidemic in the country.
According to Dr. Shu Marie, a health expert working with the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services, Cholera is “caused by an infectious bacteria called vibrio Cholerae bacillus which is found in infected faeces, and water bodies most of the times contaminated by feaces from an infected person.”
In 2022, Cholera was reported in the Far North, Littoral, South West, and Centre regions of Cameroon. But there has been a resurgence of the disease in the same areas.
The delegate of health for the Centre region, Dr. Therese Azoumbou Mefant, recently revealed that
Over 18,000 cases have been recorded in eight regions of the country, alongside 420 deaths. The centre region alone counts over 2000 cases and 105 deaths.
Affected health districts in the centre region include; Obala, Djoungolo, Cité Verte, Biyem Assi, Mfou and Nkoldongo.
To contain the spread of the disease, a special sensitization campaign scheduled to take place from May 29-June 30, 2023 has been organized in the Centre region. Teams from the regional Delegation of Public Health are intensifying efforts to prevent the disease from spreading.
There has been a resurgence of the Cholera epidemic in Cameroon since 2021. More cases have been reported in 8 affected regions in the Centre region which having the highest number of cases since the resurgence. The Adamawa and North West regions are the only cholera-free regions.
Health experts say water quality during the rainy season is among causes of the resurgence.
“In the rainy season, the water levels increase. In the urban setting, we have complications with the sewage systems and with the unavailability of portable water, the population gets more exposed to the bacteria because water from up the river flows abundantly and carries over infected faeces down to the population,” Dr. Shu Marie told Crtv Web.
She adds that “stagnant water overflows with faeces from the banks and the population gets in contact with this germ.”
Cholera is also transmitted through infected vegetables, fruits and other foods.
“Vegetables and crops that are being watered or touched by water from water banks are brought into contact more with faeces that is carried by rain water in the rainy season.
Hence, more exposure for families, farmers, hawkers and eventually the population that consumes these fruits and vegetables,” the health expert says.
How to Prevent Cholera
Drinking portable water, eating vegetables and fruits that have been properly disinfected will keep the Vibrio Cholerae Bacillus at bay.
“The first thing is getting access to portable water from a sure source. If you carry water from the tap, endeavor to boil, treat or filter the water before consumption,” Dr. Shu says.
The health expert explains the disinfection procedure for fruits.
“We advise that you wash and disinfect these fruits. Put a lid of bleach in 5 liters of water, let your fruits and vegetables sit in there for sometime and you rinse thereafter with about 10 litres of water in which you have put a lid of bleach .”
Another important tip to prevent being infected with the bacteria is frequent hand washing .
“When you return home from work, wash your hands with soap and clean water which has some bleach. Visitors should wash their hands with clean water and soap. Avoid eating out because it’s a focal point for all the infections,” Dr.Shu Marie explains.
The population has also been told to be disciplined, use clean latrines and avoid eating street food.
“Street food is a focal point for all bacteria. If you necessarily have to ease yourself, it should be away from a water source and bury your faeces very deep.”
In case of cholera symptoms, Dr. Shu Marie emphasizes on quick consultation.
“Secondary prevention is the most important. Once you realize that you have incessant diarrhea and vomiting, if you have rice water diarrhea, come to the hospital in the first 9 hours. Notify everyone everywhere you have been to so that the area can be disinfected and those concerned get proper health care.”
Health experts say these measures will prevent frequent resurgence of the disease of respected.
Kathy Neba Sina
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