By Tata Mbunwe
A new wave of cholera outbreak is sweeping across the city of Limbe in Fako division, South West region. At least 600 new cases have been confirmed leaving health facilities overwhelmed as health authorities battle to contain the disease.
Reports say 682 cases had been registered in the Limbe Health District, with 14 deaths recorded from between March 11 and 22.
Images that MMI has received show some patients receiving treatment on the floor of hospital wards, while others are at hospital verandas because rooms are already saturated.
It is reported that many people are taking their patients to hospitals in neighbouring towns like Tiko and Mutengene for treatment.
Meanwhile, health personnel say most cases received at Limbe’s biggest hospital at Mile 1 are severe, with symptoms including vomiting, watery stool and fatigue.
Poor water and hygiene conditions have been blamed for the surge in cases. People have been cautioned to drink mineral water for now and observe stringent hygiene measures.
The Limbe Health District is now the worst hit among the eight health districts said to have been affected in the South West region by the cholera outbreak that started late last year.
As of Tuesday, March 22, the region had recorded 1906 cholera cases with 44 deaths. Also, three health districts – Kumba North, Kumba South and Tiko – are the latest to record outbreaks.
The Health Districts of Buea, Limbe, Bakassi, Ekondo-Titi and Mbonge were the first to record outbreaks in the cholera wave that started in October 2021.
Health officials have warned that people should watch what they eat and drink.
People are told to be alert and should drink purified or clean water; eat properly cooked food; wash hands before and after meals and after using the toilet; thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables before eating and to avoid roadside food altogether.
The Divisional Officer, DO for Limbe I Subdivision, Innocent Nanje, in a March 21 release, urged religious, traditional and community leaders to “carryout mass sensitisation campaigns” in their respective villages, worship places and communities on cholera.
He said they should tell the communities to stop selling home-made liquids like yogurt, foleri, water and to cover food while selling.
Preventing cholera, medics say, is reliant on clean water, a resource which remains limited in these areas where the outbreak is concentrated.
The surge in outbreak cases in Limbe intensifies at a time when the city joined the rest of the world on March 22 to commemorate World Water Day under the theme: “Groundwater: Making the Invisible Visible”.