Government has confirmed an outbreak of the infectious cholera in the country including Makindye division in Kampala.
At least five people have died of cholera across the country in the past few days according to ministry of Health acting director Dr Henry Mwebesa.
Three people died in Tororo over the weekend while another two (all Kenyans) also died last week and more than 40 others are currently infected in Amudat district. Amudat district has only 17.5 per cent pit latrine coverage with safe water coverage of only 47 per cent. The district was last hit by cholera in 2010.
Fears of the outbreak in Kampala were first raised by the Uganda Red Cross Society on Friday on their staff WhatsApp group. In a short message shared on the URCS WhatsApp, Red Cross said it had received alerts through its U-report system of a suspected cholera outbreak in Kampala.
"Most of the suspected cases are coming from Makindye division through Kiruddu hospital," read the message.
Adding that: "through our CP3 project for epidemic and pandemic disease surveillance, we are coordinating with MOH [ministry of Health] which advises that all suspected cases including confirmed cases once results are out be treated at Naguru hospital."
According to the text, six suspected cholera cases are currently in isolation at Naguru hospital receiving treatment. "Six samples were shipped to Central Public Health Laboratories (CPHL) for culture and sensitivity," reads the text.
URCS noted that because of the historical complexity of responding to cholera outbreaks in Kampala, risk communication and some aspects of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) campaign may need to start immediately.
RedCross notes that it has already prepared its Kampala branches to start preparations for response.
"We will send out our volunteers to roll out social mobilization (door to door sensitisations) in communities affected and those at risk within Kampala until the ministry declares Kampala cholera free."
Minister of state for Primary Health Care Sarah Opendi confirmed the outbreak to Daily Monitor.
“It is confirmed and four people were admitted at Naguru hospital by yesterday (Friday). One has been confirmed and the rest are probable. They are all from Makindye division in Kampala,” Opendi is quoted as saying.
Last week government started conducting a campaign to vaccinate at least 360, 000 people against cholera in six hotspot areas of Hoima district.
The cholera outbreak in Hoima was confirmed in February this among the refugees from Democratic Congo and their host communities. The outbreak has claimed more than 40 lives and at least 2,119 suspected and confirmed infections according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).