The Ghana Health Service has launched a campaign to create awareness on cholera prevention and reduce the number of cases this year.
The exercise would be undertaken in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Ministry of Water Resources Works and Housing and the Ministry of Communication.
The campaign on the theme: “Regular hand washing, key to cholera prevention,” is to target individual action since this could help break transmission.
Mr Alex Segbefia, Minister of Health, addressing the event said cholera is a major public health challenge in Ghana which needed to be contained by all sectors.
He said Ghana recorded the highest number of cases last year, totalling 28,975 with 243 deaths and Accra being the most affected.
Mr Segbefia noted that the prevailing poor sanitary conditions in most communities contributed to the outbreak of the disease, which usually occurred with the onset of the rains.
He called on the citizenry to improve their personal and environmental hygiene by washing their hands with soap under running water before and after engaging in any activity among other preventive actions.
He said the Ministry has put in place response plans to ensure coordination at all levels, such as enhanced surveillance and laboratory diagnosis, strengthened case management, risk communication and social mobilisation to control the disease.
Nii Laryea Afotey Agbo, the Greater Accra Regional Minister, advised Ghanaians to stop “open defecation” to complement government’s efforts in dealing with the challenges as far as the issues of sanitation were concerned.
Felix Ofosu Kwakyi, Deputy Minister of Communication, appealed to the transport unions to educate their members on the need to disinfect their vehicles anytime they transport a patient with any sign of diarrhoea and vomiting to prevent further spread of the bacteria.
Madam Rose Ruthanzan, UNICEF Representative in Ghana said the country has been ranked second in West Africa for open defecation and that research showed that only one in five households use latrines.
She said cholera could be reduced in Ghana this year when people regularly wash their hands with soap.
The campaign was supported by the World Health Organisation, USAID, UNICEF and the Global Community.