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How To Prevent, Not Die From Cholera Infection – Doctors


Jun 22, 2024

Some family doctors have noted that though cholera is deadly, it was preventable if governments at all levels and relevant stakeholders take the necessary and required measures.

They also spoke on how the disease can be treated for those who may have been infected.
The doctors spoke in Ibadan in separate interviews against the ongoing ravage of cholera in the country and in other parts of the world.
One of the physicians, Dr Francis Sanwo, the Medical Director of Our Lady of Apostle Catholic Hospital, Oluyoro, Oke Offa, Ibadan, said that cholera is an easily treatable disease if handled promptly.
“Majority of people can be treated successfully for cholera through prompt administration of Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS).

“The WHO/UNICEF ORS standard is for a sachet of ORS to be dissolved in one litre (L) of clean water while adult patients may require up to six litres of ORS to treat moderate dehydration on the first day”.
The family physician advised that rapid access to treatment was essential during a cholera outbreak while oral rehydration should be available in communities, in addition to larger treatment centres that could provide intravenous fluids and 24 hour care.
“With early and proper treatment, the case fatality rate should remain below one per cent.

“Zinc is an important adjunctive therapy for children under five, which also reduces the duration of diarrhoea and may prevent future episodes of other causes of acute watery diarrhoea.
“Provision of safe water and sanitation is critical to prevent and control the transmission of cholera, a multifaceted approach is key to control cholera, and to reduce deaths.
“A combination of surveillance, water, sanitation and hygiene(environmental and personal), social mobilisation, treatment, and oral cholera vaccines are used.”
This, he added, should involve governments at various levels, communities, families and personal hygiene.

Sanwo advised people to always wash their hands with soap and water frequently, especially after using the toilet and before and after handling food.
He urged individuals to drink only safe water, including bottled water or water they had boiled or disinfected by themselves.
“Use bottled water even to brush your teeth. Don’t add ice to your drinks unless you made it yourself using safe water. Eat food that’s completely cooked and hot and avoid street vendor food, if possible.
“Take fruits and vegetables that you can peel yourself, such as bananas, oranges and avocados.
“Community engagement means that people and communities are part of the process of developing and implementing programmes.
“Local culture practices and beliefs are central to promoting actions such as the adoption of protective hygiene measures such as handwashing with soap, safe preparation and storage of food and safe disposal of the feaces.
“Funeral practices for individuals who die from cholera should be well handled to prevent infection among attendees,” he said.

Also, according to Dr Olufemi Okedare, Oyo State Chairman of Society of Family Physicians of Nigeria (SOFPON), cholera is a bacteria disease of which the bacteria contaminates food or water and when taken, leads to gastroenteritis.
This diarrhoea and vomiting, he adds, leads to loss of fluids and electrolytes leading to dehydration, shock and kidney failure and eventually death.
According to him, Cholera is preventable by provision of clean potable water and cultural hygienic practices including people watching the water and food they take.
“Wash hands frequently and get treated promptly when infected.
“Salt and sugar solution drinking even before getting to hospital; emergency response by government when there is epidemic like this, having a ward for cholera for urgent rehydration and treatment were all paramount,” Okedare said.

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