Cholera Outbreak hits Northern Sierra Leone

By Diana Coker –

Sierra Leone

Kambia and Port-Loko Districts in the northern part of Sierra Leone are the affected areas of Cholera out break. Ministry official says. The declaration came after reports of an increase number of death rate in Yeliboya, a cosmopolitan fishing area situated in Kambia.

The Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kisito Daoh in respect of the outbreak of cholera stated among others in a press release that after investigation from the Medical Microbiologist for Vibro Cholera and Staphylococcus feacalis in both stool and water samples collected from affected areas, have declared an outbreak of cholera in both Kambia and Port- Loko Districts.

What actually this press release did not say was whether there has occured any death whatsoever and also the mechanism put in place to address the outbreak before it gets beyond the current affected areas.

What perhaps most Sierra Leoneans are keenly concerned about is the inavailability and inaccessibility of clean drinking water in most areas in Sierra Leone, but more so in rural settings, what is available to the people is often a running stream which dries up in the dry season.

In an interview with one Madam Fatu Sesay who alledged that her husband died as a result of the cholera outbreak in Yeliboya, she appealed to the Government to provide them with clean drinking water and also construct quality toilet facilities in some public places. She stated that they depend on fresh water from rivers around Kambia District for domestic purposes, but this water she says are not treated.

She says that most of them are low income earning people, and therefore they cannot afford to construct quality toilet facilities in their homes, but rather what basically they have embarked on over the years is to build hanging toilets in the nearby streams.

From thorough investigation conducted in most places in the cities as well as towns and villages it has been found out that chlorine which is used to purify water generally is not available for sale in the country. It is understood that only the Guma Valley Water Company has the sole right to import and use this very important chemical.

Despite chlorine is not easily accessible, whatever little water they get be it from a bore whole, they fail to boil to kill bacteria which definitely affects their health and causes death. What needs to be done is for the Guma Valley Water Company and SALWACO to register these bore holes and water basins constructed in every part of the country, and provide them with water purification chemicals for a fee, if these very important life saving moves are made the issue of outbreak of cholera and diarrhea can be effectively combated and become a thing of the past.

Another key area of concern is the filthy environment in the city and other big towns, these is not helped by the fact that there are numerous streets trading activities which generates tones of garbage every day, the deposit of waste in sensitive parts of the country and the lack of capacity on the part of the Waste Management Company to effectively deal with the poor sanitation circumstances.

Even the land-field-sites are poorly managed due to inavailability of a bulldozer to use regularly to move the huge tones of garbage swelling up in particular location. Workers at these sites lack the requisite dressing gears, such as nose mask, protective overall, and boots to work in these sites.

During the dries, some of the land-field-sites emits dangerous gases into the air which eventually spreads out to the adjacent community, causing poor health situation, flies and mosquitoes germinates in their millions causing common diseases , such as diarrhea, cholera and malaria.


One Comment to “Cholera Outbreak hits Northern Sierra Leone”

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