13 Ugandans admitted with cholera-like symptoms in Busia

Wednesday September 4 2019

A medical worker attends to patients at a hospital in Hoima District, western Uganda.

A medical worker attends to patients at a hospital in Hoima District, western Uganda, last year. More than 13 people with cholera-like symptoms are admitted in Dabano Hospital in Busia, eastern Uganda. PHOTO | DAILY MONITOR 

DAILY MONITOR
By DAILY MONITOR
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Busia,

More than 13 people with cholera-like symptoms are admitted in Dabano Hospital in Busia, eastern Uganda.

They are being monitored in a cholera isolation ward.

The patients are mostly from Madibira B Village, one of the densely populated slums in Busia Town. The town borders Kenya and Uganda, with the Kenyan side also named Busia.

Medical supplies like intravenous therapy and other antibiotics have been delivered to the hospital to treat the patients.

POSSIBLE OUTBREAK

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Dr Christopher Kato, the in-charge of Dabani Hospital, said most patients have severe diarrhoea while some are vomiting, which points to possible cholera.

"The majority of them are children and women. We have put them on intravenous fluids and antibiotics treatment,” Dr Kato said.

“We urge residents to embrace preventative measures including hand washing, drinking clean water, among others measures, to avoid catching the disease,” he said.

Ms Ali Lukiya, who has been hospitalised said that her husband was the first person in the family to develop symptoms.

"He was the first to fall sick. Later, other family member’s developed diarrhoea and started vomiting,” Ms Lukiya said.

Ms Lukiya, however, says she is worried that as family, that they may not afford hospital bills.

Dr Bena Nanyama, the Busia District Health Officer, could neither deny nor confirm the outbreak of cholera but acknowledged visiting the hospital and delivering some medical supplies.

“We have taken samples from patients and we are waiting for results to determine the cause of ailments," Dr Nanyama, said.

CHOLERA

In the last three years, Busia District has been hit by several cholera epidemics.

In 2014, seven people died and more than 100 people treated for cholera, while in 2015 over 241 were treated.

The majority of the cases were reported in Busia Municipal Council which is famous for poor sanitation, and lack of safe drinking water.

Some residents in the town practice open defecation, according to Mr Kennedy Wanyama, the programme officer at Africa Water Solutions, a civil society organisation.

“Many households do not use latrines,” he said.

Cholera remains a major public health threat, leading to many cases and deaths annually in Uganda. The districts of Nebbi, Hoima, Buliisa, and Mbale contributed to 60 percent of all reported cholera cases between 2011-2016.