Cholera is an acute diarrheal disease that can kill within hours if left untreated.
Researchers have estimated that each year there are 1.3 to 4.0 million cases of cholera and between 21, 000 and 143,000 deaths worldwide due to cholera.
According to the researchers, provision of safe water and sanitation is critical to control the transmission of cholera and other water-borne diseases.
Thus cholera infection is caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with a bacterium. By all account, cholera remains a global threat to public health.
That is why the warning issued by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) about the eminent cholera outbreak in Accra must be taken serious.
“We wish to alert the general public that with the outset of rains coupled with the poor sanitary conditions, we are likely to experience cholera outbreak and other infectious diseases in the Greater Accra Region” a statement from the Greater Accra Regional Director of the GHS, Dr Charity Sarpong, warned.
It further advised the public to keep their environment clean, desist from open defecation and to clean toilets and surfaces with disinfectant and keep uncollected rubbish covered.
It also asked the public to maintain food and water safe by eating food served hot and free from dust, flies or dirt while ensuring that food preparation areas were always clean.
“Wash fruits and vegetables with water before eating, cover food always, it is safe to drink bottled water and canned drinks with unbroken seals,” it said, and warned that piped water sources and sachet may not be safe for drinking and should be boiled during the season .
The Ghanaian Times views the GHS advice as timely to enable the public take all the precautionary measures to prevent the outbreak of the disease.
The country already has a sordid history of cholera outbreak which has almost become perennial during the raining season.
We recall many deaths that were recorded in the country in the past mainly due to unhygienic and sanitation challenges in the Greater Accra Region.
To avoid the repetition of what we experienced in the past, we urge all to contribute toward efforts to contain any outbreak in the region.
As we have been told, preventive measures as well as early detection are the surest way of keeping the disease at bay.
We therefore, urge all to take proactive measures to prevent cholera through the observation of the basic recommendation by the GHS.
It is important for us to avoid the cyclical outbreak of cholera, in the country by investing more in sanitation and clean water.
This has become critically necessary because of climate change, urbanization increase in population growth and it related insanitary condition which has increased the risk of cholera outbreak.
We urge the authorities to strengthen the early warning surveillance systems in order to monitor the situation and be able to contain it.
We all know that when cholera strikes, it is devastating. It moves quickly and attacks anyone. We must, therefore, work together to stop any outbreaks of cholera this year but if it should, make sure the impact would be insignificant.
All hand must be on deck!