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The Central Region of Ghana is a hub for many historic and attractive tourist sites, including the Cape Coast Castle and Kakum National Park. Soon it will boast of being a ‘zero-cholera’ region. This was made possible through the implementation of preventive measures by Global Communities as part of the USAID-funded WASH for Health project, support from sector players and the sheer willingness of volunteers, in the affected districts. As a result of this intervention, no cholera case has been recorded till date.

  Fumigation of public latrines by
  a volunteer

According to the Ghana Health Service, in 2014 when Ghana was hardest hit with cholera, approximately 29,000 cases with almost 250 deaths were reported from 130 out of the 216 districts in all 10 regions. In Central Region alone, about 600 cases were recorded with five deaths in 2015. It further dwindled to about 150 cholera cases with no known death recorded, in 2016. Since then, no cholera case has been recorded.

Initially, community members were hesitant in embracing interventions to curb the epidemic. However, after further deliberations, the support was overwhelming. Over 300 young and old volunteers embarked on various preventive interventions in 45 communities of six (Mfantseman, Cape Coast Municipal, Twifo Hemang Lower Denkyira, Komenda Edina Eguafo Abirem, Abura Aseabu Kwamankese, Asikuma Odoben Brakwa) cholera-prone districts.

At least 30 volunteers in each district educated people in homes, schools, churches, market places and taxi stations on cholera; distributed Aquatabs (a brand of chlorine tablets for purifying 20 liters of water per tablet in 30 minutes); and disinfected public bath-houses, toilet facilities, dump sites and markets. Installation of Digni-Loos (a durable, affordable plastic slab that serves as an alternative basic sanitation option for households) was recommended by Global Communities to avert the spread of cholera,through open defecation, in the region, as they lacked household latrines.

 

   Digni-Loo installation by the youth

With support from USAID, the region was provided with four (4) Digni-Loos and educated on its installation and use. Aside from the donation, the Chief of the Region, Osabarima Kwesi Atta, purchased and installed 30 Digni-Loos for various communities. This gesture has motivated some households to purchase and install Digni-Loos in their homes. 

Global Communities and USAID are excited that the Central Region has maintained a sanitized environment for close to two years, leading to no recorded cholera case. We look forward to more years of sustaining this feat and a cholera-free Ghana. 

Ghanaian are therefore encouraged to wash their hands regularly under running water (after visiting the toilet, before and after eating, before cooking and before and before feeding infants). Food purchased from vendors must be warmed before consumption, to kill any bacteria. Food must also be properly covered to prevent flies from settling on them. Water from untrusting sources must be treated (boiling, filtering or use of Aquatabs), and handled properly (use of long handle containers for fetching to prevent hand-water contact) before use.

The fight against cholera in the Central Region began in 2014 under the USAID-funded WASH-UP project. It was intensified under the current WASH for Health project also funded by USAID. The focus of this project is to accelerate sustainable improvement in water and sanitation access and improve hygiene behaviours. It was initiated in 2015 and being implemented in targeted communities in 30 districts in five (Greater Accra, Central, Western, Northern and Volta) regions of Ghana.

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