By Gifty Arthur
The over six thousand recorded alarming cases of cholera, has awakened authorities and stakeholders, especially those in the Grater Accra Region, to outline new measures to immediately halt the epidemic in the metropolis.
In a well attended programme to inaugurate a special taskforce on cholera by the Greater Accra Regional Co-coordinating Council (RCC) organized last Friday by all stakeholders, including the security agencies, health officers, waste management organizations, municipal, metropolitan and district assemblies.
The Greater Accra Minister, Nii Laryea Afotey, reading a statement on behalf of all stakeholders said, it was sad to learn that as at Thursday 21, a day before the programme, over six thousand cases of the disease had been recorded with 51 deaths.
The metropolis, he opined was overwhelmed with patients saying the statistics were unacceptable, called for “all hands on deck” approach, to save lives.
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Kpong-Katamanso in last Friday’s short programme, tasked Metropolitan Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to intensive efforts at arresting the situation.
Mr. Agbo, who called for “emergency action” told the various MMDAs who were present in their numbers, to enforce their bye-laws and prosecute offenders.
An appeal was made to the judiciary to support this initiative by ensuring that offenders, who are sent to the various courts are punished to serve as a deterrent to others.
Knowing the number one cause of cholera, the MP tasked the MMDAs to provide private places of convenience in their district and metropolis and at densely populated areas, mobile toilets be put at vantage points.
The Chief Executives, were also ordered to make available to their communities, landfill sites and support hospitals and clinics as they are said to be overwhelmed with the number of patients.
Public education on the importance of personal hygiene and cholera in particular, are to be included in this regard, while making sure that waste bins are made available to every household and collection done at short periods.
He urged all to be each other’s keeper by educating their neighbours and friends on the consequence of bad habits, such as choked drains, defecating at unauthorized places etc.
The Accra Metropolitan Assembly Mayor, Dr Alfred Oko Vanderpujie, who spoke on behalf of the various MMDAs, noted that statistics have shown that most of the cholera cases reported so far were coming from the metropolis.
He reminding the public to remember that rights goes hand in hand with responsibility and so reminded them to do the right thing to maintain personal hygiene at all times.
Explaining the recent lack of collection of refuse in the metropolis, the Mayor said that the unfortunate development came about as a result of unavailability of dumping site, but noted that through the efforts of the Ga East and West municipal assemblies, some two sites have been identified, assuring that, “today we have no excuse not to collect refuse”.
Accra alone is said to be generating almost three thousand tones of refuse a day and it is estimated that one person generates as much as half a kilo or more a day.
The Regional Director for Health Services, Dr Mrs. Van Oto, said cholera is affecting people from slums and those who patronize food from vendors and people from the central business district.
She gave the statistics, saying though over the period, many have died from the disease, last year no one did.
She concluded that although a lot of education has been done already, a lot still remains to be done, noting that in a day, the hospitals and clinics record as many as 300 cases in Accra alone.