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Cholera threat: Eswatini on high alert

By Phephile Motau

Eswatini is on high alert for the threat of cholera as outbreaks have been declared in Mozambique and South Africa.

This was confirmed by the Director of Health Services, Dr Velephi Okello. She said the country has not yet reported any confirmed cases of Cholera although cases have been reported in the neighbouring countries. 

Dr Okello said in preparing for any eventuality, the Ministry of Health has revised and updated the country’s Cholera Preparedness and Response Plan which will be finalised and validated this week. 

Read More: Mozambique targeting 720 000 people for cholera vaccination

She added that the Public Health Emergency Operation Centre (PHEOC) is on continuous Watch Mode for any possible alert and that all diarrhea cases are monitored weekly.

Dr Okello also said the Public Health Emergency Management Committee (PHEMCO) meets on weekly basis to review weekly public health threats including cholera.

The director explained that cholera was driven mainly by inadequate access to safe, clean water and hygiene facilities and, of course, exacerbated by extreme weather events.

Read More: Over E5m spent on the protection of wetlands

She said some parts of the country still have a high proportion of households with limited or no access to safe water and hygiene facilities.

“To prevent cholera, you should wash your hands often and take steps to ensure your food and water are safe for use,” Dr Okello said.

She added that following these simple steps greatly reduces a person’s risk of getting cholera in areas where cholera is spreading:

1. Be sure you drink and use safe water 
2. Wash your hands often with soap and safe water 
3. Use toilets 
4. Boil or cook food 
5. Clean up safely

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