Just when the scare over Covid-19 seemed to be giving way as the country gets consumed by other crises; Cholera has once again struck Cameroon. And it took a simple tweet for the Minister of Public Health, Manoauda Malachie to break the news.
In just one week, 116 new cases have been detected in three of Cameroon’s ten regions. The South West region alone counts 78 new cases-enough bad news for a region where healthcare delivery has virtually stalled because of the ongoing war of independence.
Dr. Manauda Malachie said 38 new cases have been detected in the Littoral Region while two were detected in the Centre Region.
At least 62 people have died and over 2,000 cases recorded since the outbreak was announced in October last year.
Manaouda’s tweet Friday comes just days after medics in the troubled South West region sounded the alarm, warning that if preventive measures were not taken; more lives could be claimed by the epidemic.
The District Medical Officer for Buea, Dr. Ngund Mathias said 16 new cases had been recorded in just two days, with three deaths recorded.
He said the rainy season that has just begun, combined with the chronic scarcity of potable water is likely to worsen the situation.
The government says it is carrying out a mass vaccination campaign to stop the spread of a disease that is wholly preventable.
Manaouda Malachie said close to 188,000 people have already been vaccinated, representing a negligible percentage of the population in affected areas.
But there are concerns that vaccination won’t be wholly effective, with the government saying that about 70% of the country’s over 26 million people prefer local African traditional healers and go to hospitals only when their health conditions get worse.
The Director of Epidemics and Pandemics at the Cameroon Ministry of Public Health, Linda Esso told the state broadcaster, CRTV that when the first cases were reported in October, the government started telling people to go to the nearest hospitals if they experience watery diarrhea, vomiting or dehydration.
She prescribed handwashing with soap and using clean latrines as well as avoiding eating uncooked food and unwashed fruits or drinking water that has not been boiled as some of the preventive measures against the epidemic.