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W/African health workers raise alarm over cholera epidemic

BY Victor Ahiuma-Young

HEALTH workers in Nigeria and other West African countries have expressed concern over the increasing cases of cholera epidemic in the sub-region, resulting in 420 deaths in Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone in the past one year.

Under the umbrella of West African Health Sector Unions Network, WAHSUN, at its 9th plenary session in Tema, Ghana, the workers lamented the recurring cases of Cholera in the sub-region.

In a communiqué at the end of the meeting, delegates said: “The incidence of the cholera epidemic in West Africa is a matter of very serious concern for WAHSUN. In Ghana, there have been 5,800 reported cases with 60 deaths, while in Sierra Leone a state of emergency has been declared over the epidemic, which has claimed 273 lives.

“In Guinea and Senegal, over 10,000 persons have been affected by the epidemic as well. Similarly not less than 87 persons have died from this scourge in Nigeria.

“WAHSUN notes that the epidemic has been located in slums within these countries, which have greatly increased in recent times due to rising poverty.

“WAHSUN-in-session pledges the commitment of its member-unions to combating the epidemic with all fervor.

“WAHSUN, however, notes that at the heart of this health problem are crucial socio-economic questions of destitution, unemployment, poor housing, poverty and pauperisation, which the governments of states in West Africa would have to address.”

“Further, this epidemic reveals the poor state of public health care, particularly environmental health services, due to inadequate concern by governments, despite the expertise of trained human resource for health.”


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