28 February 2018, Hoima: - The World Health Organization (WHO) is supporting the Ministry of Health in Uganda to respond to the Cholera outbreak in Kyangwali refugee camp, in Hoima district. As of 28 February, over 1000 cases have been registered and 31 people confirmed dead at the two treatment centers in Kasonga and Sebagoro in Kyangwali and Kabwoya sub-counties respectively.
Therefore, MoH with support from WHO, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), Action Africa Help Uganda (AAH), and Uganda Red Cross deployed teams of responders and resources to assist government in controlling and containing the outbreak. Data collected so far indicates that 99% of the cases are among the new refugees while 1% are from the host communities.
The index case, an elderly man of 60-70 years, was recorded on 15 February 2017 at the refugee entry point in Sebagoro village on Lake Albert. He presented with vomiting, fever and acute watery diarrhea and later died. On the same day, two more deaths of children aged under five occurred in the Kyangwali refugee reception center and in Maratatu new refugee settlement. They presented with similar signs and symptoms as the old man.
Subsequent investigations indicate that the spread of infection is associated with open defecation, inadequate water supply and, poor hygiene.
Consequently, WHO and partners, Village Health Teams, Red Cross volunteers, and government health workers are actively working on improving infection control in the treatment centers, treatment of patients, risk communication and health education, water, sanitation and hygiene, data collection, and coordination to control the outbreak.
“There is a propagating trend, underpinned by inadequate water supply, poor hygiene and high influx of refugees. WHO and partners, have mounted a public health response to address the risk factors in the outbreak”, noted Mr. Innocent Komakech, the Emergency preparedness focal person at the WHO country Office in Uganda.
Overall, WHO is providing human resources, technical guidance, capacity building and supplies including cholera kits, Information, Education and Communication materials and Personal Protective Equipment in order to contain the outbreak.