Sunday, September 20, 2020

WHO, UNICEF joins hands with Botswana as diarrhoea outbreak death toll continues to rise

The number of children who succumbed to death as a result of recent diarrhoea outbreak now stands at 31.

Following the outbreak of diarrhoea about a month back, scores of infants in Botswana are living on borrowed time.

This has forced the government to send an SOS to international organizations seeking assistance.

Health Ministry officials say the disease has already claimed the lives of 31 children under the age of 5 years since the outbreak on September 2.

Health Ministry, Spokesperson Doreen Motshegwe indicated that the department has dispatched teams and medication country wide in a bid to contain the disease which poses danger to the lives of infants.  Motshegwe stated that mobile clinics have also been dispatched to most areas that have no health facilities in a bid to contain the disease.

She further noted that they continue to sensitize the public about the need to always wash their hands after using toilets. Motshegwe was of the view that the sensitization message has reached most of the communities countrywide.

“We are hopeful that the disease will be contained since we have reached the populace”, she added.

Meanwhile there is possibility that  cases of diarrhoea which  stood at 21 544 as of September 30 could rise after the government predicted that  it  could take three weeks before the country can contain the disease.  

Already United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and World Health Organization (WHO) have joined forces with the government lately in a bid to address the diarrhoea outbreak.

Botswana is always caught unprepared where young lives are lost due to diarrhoea outbreak as it is evident that this is not a first incident to claim the lives of innocent children.

In 2006 the disease claimed the lives of more than 500 children and this was an epidemic given the fact that Botswana’s population still stands at 2 million. Preliminary investigations by the Ministry suggest that the diarrhoea, or mini cholera as one doctor puts it, is being caused by rotavirus, which is commonly transmitted through unhygienic practices.

“The critical message is hand-washing and general hygiene measures. The virus is contagious, it can be contracted through the mouth, food and respiratory droplets and that is why personal hygiene is very critical in the prevention of the spread,” stated the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Ruth Maphorisa.

The rotavirus according to the Ministry, is a natural virus which just like the influenza virus, strives in cold seasons.

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