BOTSWANA is currently grappling with a Diarrhoea outbreak with indications that the disease has claimed 11 lives and infected 3,192 others.
HealthTimes Botswana Correspondent
Botswana Health ministry acting permanent secretary Setso O. Setso said even though it has been two weeks after the diarrhoeal outbreak struck, the country continues to experience increasing diarrhoea cases, especially among young children under the age of five.
“As at the 19th September, the total number of reported diarrhoea cases the Mahalapye area with 592, Bobirwa 511, Gaborone 485 cases, Boteti 435, Ngami 250, Kweneng East 232, Francistown 205, Selebi-Phikwe 221, Tonota 193 and Chobe 68 cases, this indicates a wide spread outbreak.
“This has resulted in a total of eleven deaths. Diarrhoea with dehydration can be fatal if not treated on time. It is important to recognise diarrhoea signs as early as possible to avoid delay in reporting to the nearest health facility as diarrhoea is preventable and curable.”
Diarrhoea signs include loose bowls more than 3 times a day, fever, sunken eyes, sunken fontanel, dry lips, decrease urination, decrease tears and vomiting.
Investigations are on-going to determine the cause of the current diarrhoea. Diarrhoea mostly affects children under five years.
Sesto added that parents, guardians, teachers and the public at large are advised to take the necessary precautions to avoid dehydration caused by diarrhoea in children by doing the following:
• Reporting to the nearest health facility if the child shows early signs of diarrhoea
• Boiling water from the borehole/river before use and always cover water stored in containers
• Washing hands with soap before preparing food
• Covering food or left overs to avoid contact with flies
• Ensuring proper hygiene at home
• Disposing stools safely in the toilets.
“Where there are no toilets stools should be safely disposed in holes and covered. The ministry continues to closely monitor the diarrhoea situation and District health facilities are on high alert to provide the necessary health services for the management of diarrhoea cases.”
In addition, the ministry has dispatched a team of experts to reinforce district level response.