We seem to be at the front edge of a cholera outbreak. Cholera is a bacterial infection that causes severe diarrhoea and dehydration, and if not treated promptly, can lead to death. The disease is caused by the bacterium which is usually found in contaminated water or food. The disease is most common in countries with poor sanitation and limited access to clean water, but it can also spread to other parts of the world through travel or migration. So far here in Maphiveni, we've had 5 patients come into the clinic with moderate running tummies, two of which were needing IVs. Each patient we saw also had at least 3 family members with the same symptoms. We reached out to our emergency healthcare workers the other day to confirm our suspicions of this outbreak and unfortunately received word that they are seeing Plus or Minus 10 confirmed cholera cases in the country right now across all regions.
Symptoms & Prevention
Cholera typically presents with symptoms of acute watery diarrhea, vomiting, and leg cramps. In severe cases, diarrhea can become so profuse that it leads to dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and low blood pressure. Without treatment, cholera can lead to shock and death in as little as a few hours. The most effective way to prevent cholera is through improved water and sanitation systems (something which is a constant battle in rural Eswatini.) This includes filtration of drinking water, proper disposal of human waste, and hand hygiene to prevent the spread of bacteria.
What you can do to help
We’re keeping a close eye on the situation but are also kindly appealing for donations to help our facility not only cope with the outbreak but be able to quickly detect and contain it.
We require medical supplies such as IV kits, saline bags as well as cholera rapid test kits. These will help in managing and screening the patients that come in.
A few of our pharmaceutical suppliers are completely out of ORS (oral rehydration salts) so we have found ourselves mixing some up to have in the clinic using the homemade formula. You can help sponsor one patient's treatment for only E100. (Which is about $6) You can also give towards our volunteer doctor's salary, Dr. Marshal. He is helping us on a part-time basis and has been of great assistance in our community, especially now.