As Cases Of Cholera Surge In SW:  * Multiple Efforts Synergize To Curb The Pandemic

 By Clextus Abong

The past week has been a deadly nightmare comes true as denizens of the South West Region scuttled and scurried to contain the cholera outbreak that hit the region and especially the seaside city of limbe with ferocity not too common in the history of cholera outbreaks in the country.

           Within this short period of the outbreak, the Limbe Health District area alone has registered thousands of cases with tens of deaths putting the population in a state of total apprehension no one knows what will happen next to whom as number of affected persons keeps soaring.

             This uncomfortable situation is giving sleepless nights to the authorities in the city and the region as a whole.

         In order to curb the spread of the disease and equally equip the medical personnel with the necessary facilities as they go about administering treatments to affected victims, multiple efforts are pouring in by various stakeholders to remedy the situation.

           Against this backdrop,   South West Governor Bernard Okalia Bilai on Wednesday, 23 March summoned local authorities, heads of public and private institutions, health officials as well as some business persons for a crisis meeting to evaluate, and seek the way forward to arrest the debilitating situation.

           At the Limbe Regional Hospital Hall after being briefed on the exact situation of the epidemic, Governor Okalia called on all and sundry to make meaningful donations and contributions towards combating the unwanted visitor.

             Instantly the sum of over Fcfa 15 million was raised in both cash and pledges. The lone oil refining company, Sonara pledged to support with the sum of Fcfa 10 million, the Limbe City Council Fcfa 2million, the Cameroon Development Corporation, CDC to provide beds to accommodate patients while all three councils of Limbe pledged the sum of Fcfa 1 million each.

         Other support came from business persons such as Mr. Valentine Nkwain aka Bob Diddy who doled out Fcfa 1 million and Glocal Gas Fcfa 300.000. In all, the sum of Fcfa 3.5 million was raised as cash while Fcfa 11.5 million as pledges.

Governor Instructs the Building Of Ten New Public Toilets

             Speaking to journalists at the end of the working session and after a field trip to Down Beach, Governor Okalia Bilai confirmed the outbreak of cholera in the region and Limbe in particular with the figures skyrocketing.

       “Our structures the hospitals are over loaded but thank God that the medical officers of those hospitals have been proactive and they have taken preventive measures to host various patients as they have put canopies with all the patients under treatment”, he remarked..

       He told journalists that the cause of the epidemic is due to the lack of toilets in some quarters in Limbe. After a field visit to the Down Beach area, Mr. Okalia expressed his discontent after denizens reported that they don’t have toilets but use the sea and bushes to ease themselves when pressed.

        “At Down Beach area there is no toilet as some inhabitants said they use the sea to ease themselves and bushes which according to medical practitioners is the cause. If we don’t cut the disease at the grassroots, we will continue to receive patients for treatment”, he said.

          On this note and in order to prevent the spread of the disease, the Governor ditched out firm instructions to the local authorities, the mayors and SDO is to undertake a programme for the construction of toilets at the Down Beach area within 30 days.

             “Because if you don’t do it, these people will continue and the area will remain the centre of cholera. So the state must take some measures and oblige every house owner to show his or her toilet but for the situation of emergency, the council should build 10 public toilets here”, he said.

                 While ordering the closure of wells in some quarters, Mr. Okalia Bilai called on the water supply body, CAMWATER to supply portable water to some quarters with assistance from the municipality, CDC and Sonara who will provide tanks. He announced that measures will be put in place while waiting for the reoganisation of the way of living and building of houses in Limbe.

             Limbe City Mayor Steps In

               One of such persons touched by this unfortunate situation is the Limbe City Mayor, Paul Efome Mbole Lisombe Ngale.

           In order to help curb the spread and equally assist the victims suffering from the disease and who lack the necessary materials and medications as they undergo treatments, the City Mayor on Saturday, 26 March donated 50 mattresses to the Limbe Regional Hospital.

              Speaking at the donation exercise, Mayor Paul Ngale said as father of the city, it is his responsibility to take care of his people and especially at this crucial time of the cholera outbreak which is now a big concern and worry to all in the municipality.

          To him the move taken is not a gesture but his responsibility to ensure all those affected by the pandemic are comfortable at the hospital and well treated. In this light he said all hands should be deck to fight against cholera.

               It is because of this disturbing situation that he said the council thought it wise to make available these mattresses and some consignments to the Limbe Regional Hospital for the treatment of patients concerned.

              “We have brought 50 mattresses today coupled with other medical consignments given earlier because we had complaints that people have challenge of accommodation. So I had to bring these mattresses for people to use and be comfortable even though they are sick”, he said.

           The donation of these mattresses come to add to the earlier move taken by the city council to other consignments to the Limbe Regional Hospital that included the supply and installation of six pyramids tents and emergency kits.

                Though the situation remains pitiable as the epidemic continues to affect more and more persons, City Mayor Paul Ngale called on the population not to panic but to rush suspected cases or persons with symptoms to the hospitals for immediately commencement of treatment.

“My advice is that people should not panic because the health officials are doing their best and are sensitizing the population together with us as everything is under control. The government is there to make sure everything is under control so they should be very hopeful and they should be patient, they should not panic”, he cautioned.

Hospital Management Thank City Mayor

          Receiving these mattresses on behalf of the Limbe Regional Hospital, the Assistant General Supervisor Mr. Oliver Itoe thanked the city mayor for the timely intervention which will go a long way to remedy the accommodation situation at the hospital.

              “Honestly speaking, we are over whelmed. I will like to start by saying that when we started receiving these cases that is about a week ago, we did not expect the number we have received so far that is close to Three hundred and thirty five cases with a number of deaths but unfortunately these deaths are due to cases that arrived the hospital late”, he said.

               Extremely excited by the move, Mr. Itoe like Oliver Twist called on other goodwill persons and bodies to emulate the footsteps of the City Mayor as the consumption of medication remains very high.

              “Just to cite on Tuesday where we received about a hundred and thirty patients, we had to consume more than One thousand infusions so you can imagine. So we will still call on any donor to do much as it is possible to assist this situation”, he pleaded.

Regional House Will Definitely Step In

Hon. Solomon Ngombe

              Speaking on the sideline of the donation of the mattresses at the Limbe Regional Hospital, Hon. Solomon Ngombe Tome, and South West Regional Council from the Limbe II said the situation is deplorable and frustrating as the region and Limbe in particular has not been in peace due to the cholera outbreak.

While thanking the City Mayor for the provision of mattresses and other medical consignments, Hon. Ngombe opined that the donations by the City Mayor will relief the medical team and patients affected by the pandemic.

            “I think the regional house will surely do something because it concerns the region and Fako in particular” Hon. Ngomba said.

              “The Regional House is aware. In our whatsapp forum we have been talking about it and even the president commented and am sure the regional house will step in because it is not only in Limbe but towns like Buea and Idenau equally have similar situations”, he revealed.

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