Assessment of the response to cholera outbreaks in two districts in Ghana

Type Journal Article - Infectious Diseases of Poverty
Title Assessment of the response to cholera outbreaks in two districts in Ghana
Volume 5
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
Despite recurring outbreaks of cholera in Ghana, very little has been reported on assessments of outbreak response activities undertaken in affected areas. This study assessed the response activities undertaken in two districts, Akatsi District in Volta Region and Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abirem (KEEA) Municipal in Central Region during the 2012 cholera epidemic in Ghana.

We conducted a retrospective assessment of the events, strengths and weaknesses of the cholera outbreak response activities in the two districts making use of the WHO cholera evaluation tool. Information sources included surveillance and facility records, reports and interviews with relevant health personnel involved in the outbreak response from both district health directorates and health facilities. We collected data on age, sex, area of residence, date of reporting to health facility of cholera cases, district population data and information on the outbreak response activities and performed descriptive analyses of the outbreak data by person, time and place.

The cholera outbreak in Akatsi was explosive with a high attack rate (AR) of 374/100,000 and case fatality rate (CFR) of 1.2 % while that in KEEA was on a relatively smaller scale AR of 23/100,000 but with a high case fatality rate of 18.8 %. For both districts, we identified multiple strengths in the response to the outbreak including timely notification of the district health officials which triggered prompt investigation of the suspected outbreak facilitating confirmation of cholera and initiation of public health response activities. Others were coordination of the activities by multi-sectoral committees, instituting water, sanitation and hygiene measures and appropriate case management at health facilities. We also found areas that needed improvement in both districts including incomplete surveillance data, sub-optimal community based surveillance considering the late reporting and the deaths in the community and the inadequate community knowledge about cholera preventive measures.

The assessment of the cholera outbreak response in the two districts highlighted strengths in the epidemic control activities. There was however need to strengthen preparedness especially in the area of improving community surveillance and awareness about cholera prevention and the importance of seeking prompt treatment in health facilities in the event of an outbreak.

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