Uganda Red Cross responds to Cholera Outbreak in Kampala, Uganda

Uganda Red Cross responds to Cholera Outbreak in Kampala, Uganda

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URC Volunteers spraying the feet of all entrants to Kagoma Reception Centre
as a measure to prevent the spread of Cholera in this area

With the current rainy season and the worsening slum conditions in and around Kampala district, the city didn’t wait long to face another cholera outbreak. Since February this year, most parts of the country have been struggling with cholera as a result of heavy rains. On Friday 4th May 2018, the Ministry of Health in Uganda declared another cholera outbreak in Kampala.

This followed suspected cases identified by Uganda Red Cross volunteers through the Community based fast responders messaging platform, commonly known as the U-Report. The humanitarian agency was triggered to take action instantly in a bid to save lives. “Through our U-Report system, we were able to track the first suspected cases and we had to respond quickly by sending our Red Cross Action Teams (RCATs) on ground. The U-Report surveillance has enabled early detection, triggering early response and action” said Paul Okot, the Uganda Red Cross Emergency Response Manager.

The Ministry of Health tested samples of the suspected cases and over 8 (eight) cases turned out positive. The affected personswere admitted at Naguru referral hospital and an isolation center was set up to handle the victims. Cholera is believed to have started in Makindye division when the index case reported at Kiruddu Hospital. Some cases however have been traced from Kalerwe, Wakiso and Mpigi districts. “We have admitted seven patients since Friday. We have however not received any other cholera cases since. We have also not yet registered any death and all the patients are responding well to treatment” said Dr. Henry Mwebesa, the Acting Director General Health Services Ministry of Health. On Wednesday 9th May, Uganda Red Cross deployed a well-trained and competent team of volunteers to respond to the outbreak through social mobilization and sensitizing the public.

Our teams give priority to places that sell food by encouraging them to
ensure good sanitation

In partnership with UNICEF Uganda, over 20,000 posters, 14,400 brochures and 14,000 Aqua tabs have been given to the Uganda Red Cross Society and Kampala Capital City Authority to be distributed during the dissemination sessions on Cholera prevention and control. On a daily basis, Uganda Red Cross Volunteers move door to door in areas around Kampala city especially those at high risk, sensitizing communities on cholera outbreak, signs and symptoms, how to avoid it and how to support those suspected to be affected. “The Red Cross people have come to us to talk about the cholera outbreak and how we can stay safe We appreciate it and hope to survive, especially during this time of heavy rains. Our children are on holidays and they play in very many dirty places.

We will try our best, now that we know how to keep safe”, said Abdu Rahim Busingye, a resident of Kisenyi, Kampala City. “We actually didn’t know that there was cholera in Kampala. I thank the Red Cross for the effort, I would not have known if you people hadn’t knocked on my door. I will put everything you have taught me in practice so that I don’t fall victim to cholera” said Darlene Atuha, a resident of Kiwatule, a Kampala suburb. Uganda has been grappling with floods in most parts of the country. Kampala city has many blocked drainage channels and when it rains, the city floods, causing water logging in many parts of the city and exposing the public to many public Health risks. A lot of contaminated water is always observed escaping to nearby communities, into people’s homes and to open water sources like springs, exposing people to risks of coming into contact with feaces and other waste that carries the cholera bacteria.

Our volunteer explaining to a group of men the information displayed on
the cholera poster

According to the World Health Organization, cholera is an acute diarrheal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with bacterium Vibro Cholera. The disease is spread through drinking un-boiled water, eating cold food exposed to dust, flies or cockroaches, not washing hands with soap after visiting the latrine, eating unwashed fruits and so many other hygiene and sanitation related weaknesses. The symptoms of the epidemic include vomiting, diarrhea, general body weakness, thirst and failure to urinate due to reduced body fluids.

Uganda Red Cross remains committed to saving people’s lives, in this case bringing cholera related messages closer to the people through a vigorous social mobilization campaign, targeting to bring cholera prevalence to zero. “We encourage all people to use latrines properly, dispose off feaces and other waste well, boil drinking water, eat hot food and, clean around their premises to ensure they observe proper hygiene and sanitation during this rainy season. I also call upon the regulators around Kampala to improve and expand the drainage systems so that we see proper channels carrying water. The sewerage system should be expanded for proper waste management around the city and this will help reduce such cases of cholera prevalence around the towns”, said Jimmy Asea, URCS Water Sanitation and Hygeine Manager of the cholera response in Kampala. Uganda Red Cross Volunteers will remain in communities, sensitizing people on cholera until the Ministry of Health declares Kampala Cholera free.

URCS Contacts

Plot 551/555 Rubaga Road.
P.O. Box 494, Kampala Uganda.
Tel:     (256) 414 258701
Tel:     (256) 414 258702
Email: sgurcs@redcrossug.org

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