National cholera prevention campaign launched in Ghana

Accra, 28 April 2016 - The national cholera prevention campaign was launched on 28 April 2016 at Agbogbloshie in Greater Accra Region of Ghana.  The Prevention Campaign supported by WHO, USAID/Global Communities, UNICEF and the Ministry of Health targets to reach all people and communities across the country.

“Keeping Ghana cholera free is a major priority for WHO and its partners. This prevention campaign is an opportunity for us to reach out and sensitize communities at risk, equip them with preventive information and services. This includes emphasis on appropriate hygiene practices such as hand washing with soap, safe preparation and storage of food and breastfeeding,” said Dr Owen Kaluwa WHO Representative to Ghana.

“This campaign is much needed to prevent an occurrence of a fatal outbreak; cholera is an extremely virulent disease that affects both children and adults, and can kill within hours if left untreated. Ghana remains vulnerable to cholera outbreaks and other water/food borne diseases because of the prevailing risk factors”, he added

Throughout the campaign, WHO will provide technical assistance while working with partners like UNICEF and Global Initiative to strengthen coordination, supervision, and monitoring of the campaign messages. Technical support continues to be provided to the Ministry of Health in the area of early warning surveillance system to obtain better data for early detection of suspected cases and risk assessment including establishing an active surveillance.    

During the launch, the Minister for Health, Mr Alex Segbefia said that the Ministry of health through Ghana Health Service has reactivated the cholera prevention and response plans.  “The Ministry of Health, Ghana Health Service and our partners will focus on seven key intervention areas name; coordination, surveillance and laboratory diagnosis, case management, risk communication and social mobilization, water, sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), vaccination (oral Cholera Vaccination) for populations at risk, and supervision, monitoring and evaluation,” Said Mr Alex Segbefia, Minister for Health,

He added that Ghana Health service has sent “Cholera Alert” to all Regions, Districts and Health Facilities. He appealed to the media houses in the country to support the campaign. 

Several cholera outbreaks have occurred in Ghana over the past few with the worst outbreak reported in 201 in which over 28 000 cases and 218 death were recorded across the country. Greater Accra Region is often the most affected of the 10 Regions. Lack of safe drinking water, poor sanitation and open defecation are some of the risk factors the people in Ghana faced and predispose the communities to the cholera outbreak.

Despite launching the prevention campaign and other preparedness and response measures, long term solution towards cholera control remains critical. This lies in the economic development and the provision of universal access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation to all Ghanaians. Unless, these immediate and longer interventions are put in place thousands of Ghanaians will continue facing yearly outbreaks. 

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For more information on this article, please contact: 

Ms Pauline Ajello, Communication and Advocacy Officer, WHO Ghana +233503397476, Email:  ajellopa [at] who.int