- A cholera epidemic in the Togolese capital, Lomé, has so far caused 661 cases and 37 deaths, according to the Togolese Red Cross. While the epidemic is still on the increase, the Red Cross is heading information and awareness work to prevent a greater disaster in the city of 700,000 inhabitants.
The Togolese Red Cross Society reports from Lomé that it is now supporting an urgent collaborated response to the cholera epidemic in the Togolese capital city. While 37 Lomé citizens have already died from cholera, there are reports that the epidemic is still increasing.
At a meeting one month ago, the Togolese Red Cross had agreed to mobilise and train a further 150 volunteers to respond to the epidemic. The response to the Lomé epidemic is headed by the Togolese Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
According to the Togolese Red Cross, its volunteers have by now visited some 1,250 households in the affected region and reached more than 20,000 people with "information and education on prevention and management."
Together with local health authorities and the WHO, Red Cross voluntaries are now conducting a mass awareness campaigns through radio and public institutions, such as schools. Other activities to control the spread of the epidemic include active case surveillance and referring infected to special clinics established to treat cholera patients.
- There is fear of the epidemic escalating as the rains are increasing, the Togolese Red Cross says. The organisation has therefore requested more support for a most effective intervention.
The cause of the current cholera outbreak in Lomé was said not to be specific but "the majority of cases being reported are from households close to polluted water sources by the city's lagoon." Cholera in general spreads through the intake of unclean water. A task force currently is increasing the treatment of the city's poor water sources.
Meanwhile, cholera outbreaks are registered in several cities in West and Central Africa. After Lomé, the heaviest outbreak is currently registered in Douala, Cameroon's largest city. Here, more than 20 persons have died and several hundred have been infected. Also in Douala, heavy rains and unclean water have caused the epidemic.
Further, several locations along the Niger River have had smaller outbreaks of cholera, which is believed to have been transported down the river from the Malian capital, Bamako.
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