A one-time Australian rock star who is now a missionary in Sierra Leone, has told the ASSIST News Service that Sierra Leone’s health ministry on Wednesday has announced that an outbreak of cholera in the West African country has killed 62 people in less than a month.
Fr. Dr. Themi Adams
He is Fr. Dr. Themi Adams, who told ANS that he western area, including the capital Freetown, and three towns in the northern and southern parts of the country have now been declared cholera outbreak areas.
“Emergency referral centres have been set up and hospitals and health clinics have been boosted with drugs to combat any escalation of the problem,” reported Fr. Themi.
“Between June 23 and Tuesday, 62 people have died and 3 721 cases have been reported in the areas concerned, statistics showed.”
He went on to say that the highest number of cases was in the town of Port Loko, where 21 children under the age of five have died.
“The outbreak has been traced to unsanitary conditions, acute water shortages in many parts of the country and migration from affected regions,” a health official said.
“The Sierra Leone Red Cross has mobilized 400 volunteers to control the spread of the disease and educate communities on how to prevent it,” said Fr. Themi.
“As the annual rainy season is under way, the water-borne disease has already left 700 people dead in West and Central Africa with more than 29 000 cases reported, UNICEF said last week.”
The Orthodox priest went on to say, “Poor water and sanitation systems give rise to the disease, an acute intestinal infection caused by ingesting contaminated food and water. It can kill in hours, according to the World Health Organisation.
“I think that we should set up a program to build proper sanitary toilets with running water and flushing toilets and introduce a hygiene program into the schools so as to teach the children to wash their hands.”