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August 4, 2021

Ministry Of Health Cautions Public Against Waterborne Disease Outbreak

Motorcycles pass through water in a street after torrential rains in Kampala, Uganda on December 13, 2016. (Photo by Lubowa Abubaker/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The Ministry of Health has warned of a likely increase in patient numbers in health facilities following an outbreak of water-borne diseases sparked by torrential rains.

The state minister for Health in Charge of Primary Health Care, Dr. Joyce Moriku Kaducu, revealed that funds have been secured to vaccinate people in cholera-prone areas while interventions are on to curb diarrhea, another cause of morbidity.

She noted that the negative effects of heavy rainfall are likely to cause health hazards to hundreds of households.

“The incidence of infectious and non-communicable diseases such as malaria, cholera, asthma, typhoid, bilharzia, dysentery, and acute respiratory infections will rise to outbreak levels,” she said at a press briefing on April 21.

She said the government has equally made significant progress on the reduction of diarrhea cases, pneumonia cases, and dysentery and cholera cases.

In Uganda, diarrhea is among the top four causes of morbidity in infants and young children. The Uganda Demographic and Health Survey, 2016 reported that the prevalence of diarrhea among children below 5 years in Uganda was 20%.

In 2017, diarrhea deaths reached 6.41% of total deaths, leading the country to be ranked 27th worldwide among countries with high morbidity rates due to diarrhea.

Currently, the population with access to basic hygiene (practicing handwashing with soap) stands at 41.9% from 36.2% in 2019 while basic hand hygiene service levels were reported at 86.5%, a significant increase from 74% as reported in 2019.

Kaducu said there are 12 cholera hotspot districts in Uganda: Kasese, Ntororo, Busia, Nebbi, Zombo, Pakwach, Bullisa, Hoima, and Kikuube.

Kaducu said that her ministry is working with the local governments, central government sectors, and other key stakeholders and development partners to step up the implementation of preventive measures of cholera.

Some of these measures include; Intensifying health education on cholera prevention, focusing on hygiene improvement, with emphasis on handwashing with water and soap, keeping clean homes, covering food, and eating food that is hot among others.

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