Tuesday, October 20, 2020
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By Walter Wilson Nana

CameroonPostline.com — Government and her partners in the health sector have begun a campaign to check epidemics in the country. Recently, a national campaign was launched, aimed at preventing and fighting against cholera and other diseases. In the Southwest Region, the Governor, Bernard Okalia Bilai enjoined all to ensure good health for the population.

He recalled that, in 2010, 3,204 cases of cholera were registered in the Southwest Region, with 42 persons losing their lives. “We pray that this should not repeat itself in our Region. We praise the efforts of the intervention unit and wish that they should be fortified to do more,” Bilai said. He made a plea to stakeholders in the health sector; the government, her partners – WHO, UNICEF, PLAN CAMEROON, CARE CAMEROON – and the communities to work in synergy and stop cholera and other diseases in the Region.

Meanwhile, the Southwest Regional Delegate of Public Health, Dr. Victor Mbome Njie, said it is the responsibility of all Cameroonians to be partners in the fight and prevention of epidemics.
“It’s a collective responsibility. We’ve to remind ourselves of the need to carry on with the crusade to the population that there is a place for prevention,” he added.

In a presentation on the situation of cholera and other diseases of epidemic potential in the Southwest Region, Dr. Atembeh, Southwest Regional Chief of Immunisation in the Delegation of Public Health explained that prevention is the core of the ongoing campaign. “If we take adequate measures to wash our hands with water, if we wash our hands after stool, if we wash our hands before and after eating, we’ll not be part of the cholera epidemic,” he noted.

Dr. Atembeh cautioned against eating anyhow and anywhere, saying these are areas to court epidemic diseases. “We should avoid eating food that has been exposed to flies, avoid defecating in streams because our faeces may be harbouring cholera and the person downstream will contract it, while using the water,” he advised.

He prescribed basic hygiene rules as a way to avoid cholera. “In developed countries, cholera is a disease of the past because they observe basic hygienic regulations. In developing countries like ours, we’re prone to it because we have failed to respect the basic hygiene rules,” he said. According to the medic, doubtful water supplies, defecating in bushes, poor food preservation and people touching corpses cause cholera.

“Part of our weaknesses in this fight are; insufficient sensitisation, intervention materials and late reporting of epidemics from our health districts,” he bemoaned. However, Dr. Atembeh was upbeat that despite the odds, they are ready to face the challenges with support from the Southwest Special Fund for Health, providing the necessary drugs, regularly training personnel to handle situations and creation of regional training centres.

Reports on other epidemics like measles, yellow fever and meningitis were given, in which the Medic noted that they were being closely monitored but the problem of inadequate epidemiological surveillance persists. An open discussion closed the Buea launch in which participants resolved to be part of the prevention chain.

First published in The Post print edition no 01417