“We were very shocked when we found out that most of the residents of Kabowa parish lacked toilets, the drainage channel was in a very poor condition, no hand washing facilities and the rubbish was packed in one place,” this is one of the statements of the State Minister of Primary Healthcare Dr. Joyce Moriku Kaducu made during a press conference at Media Centre on January 10, 2019.
The minister confirmed the outbreak of cholera in the area and blamed it on the affected residents for living in filth.
“Out of the 16 cases that have been registered so far, seven have been confirmed cholera. And of the two deaths laboratory results show that one died of cholera and the other one died of diarrhoea,” Kaducu said.
She said that the government had already put in place a point where patients suspected to have cholera are admitted, an ambulance to rush the patients for treatment, a team of experts from the ministry of health to monitor toilets in Kabowa and sensitization of the public about Cholera have been put in place.
The minister also blamed the leaders in the area who refused their subjects from cleaning the area telling them that it was the role of government to clean, not the residents.
Dr. Godfrey Bwire, the principal medical officer in charge of the control of the diarrhoea disease based at the Ministry of Health said that the cholera virus that attacked Kabowa residents was not different from the one that usually attacks Uganda.
In 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a new cholera vaccine position paper, which recommended the use of cholera vaccines in high-risk areas.
According to Dr. Bwire, cholera mostly attacks districts on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.
He said the government would vaccinate people in four districts in the next two months.
“The targeted districts are Nebbi, Zombo, Pakwach and Buliisa. We shall use USD 600,000 and our target is 600,000 people from the four districts,” he said. This means the vaccination cost per individual is USD 1 or about UGX 3700
“The cost of treating one infected person is between UGX 50, 000 to UGX 100, 000. I therefore call upon Ugandans to prevent the disease through proper observation of sanitation” he said.
Over 300 public toilets to be constructed
Benna Namugwanya, the State Minister for Kampala said that the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) would construct 300 public toilets across the city to improve on sanitation.
“We have already secured a grant of USD 4bn and very soon we shall start the construction of these 300 public facilities,” she said, adding that the construction would include the Nalukolongo channel.
Research by the WHO in 2010 estimated that an average of about 11,000 cholera cases occurred in Uganda each year, which led to approximately 61-182 deaths. The majority of these cases (81 percent) occurred in a relatively small number of districts comprising just 24 percent of Uganda’s total population.
These districts included areas bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, and Kenya as well as the slums of Kampala City.