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Rural dwellers warned against gastroenteritis



A MEDICAL expert and founder of the Community Health Education and Development in Africa (COHEDA),  Clifford Okafor, has cautioned rural communities in Anambra State to desist from open defecation to avert the outbreak of gastroenteritis in the state.

  Dr. Okafor made his call on the heels of reported outbreak of the epidemic in Lagos State which had already claimed some lives with increasing number of victims hospitalized presently.

 The physician described gastroenteritis as a disease resulting in frequent stooling and vomiting by its victims that could lead to untimely death if not properly treated, and mainly caused by unhygienic lifestyles.

  Dr. Okafor, who is also the Chief Medical Director of the Harmony Specialist Hospital, Awka, urged the public to embrace proper hand washing culture with clean water and soap or ash, especially after visiting the toilet while also being conscious of indiscriminate handshake that could transmit the disease from an infected person.

                He said, “We must realize that there is serious danger and take precautionary measures to remain safe,” pointing out that diarrhea could also be transmitted by consuming contaminated food and water or touching objects like door handle and domestic utensils stained with excrete or vomit of a victim of gastroenteritis.

 To forestall the explosion of the epidemic, the medical doctor suggested that proactive steps taken when Ebola scourge occurred in the country some time ago, like provision of buckets fitted with water taps for washing hands both in residential homes, offices, schools and public places to encourage proper washing of hands with soap or ash by members of the public.

  Other steps for the effective control of the scourge, he stressed, would be for anybody who notices any symptom of the disease to quickly go to the hospital for treatment, adding that people should always wash fruits like garden eggs, apple and guava properly before eating them.

  Dr. Okafor sternly warned against indiscriminate excretion or open defecation, particularly around streams to avoid contamination of the sources of water supply in the rural areas that could trigger the outbrreak of gastroenteritis and other cholera epidemic.

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