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Typhoid Fever on the rise in Grand Gedeh County

Grand Gedeh County – Report gathered by local Voice Liberia Health Reporter in Grand Gedeh says there is sharp increase in the number of typhoid cases reported at health care centers in the county.

The latest survey report is raising concern among both health workers and locals in the county, our reporter says.

The Monitoring and Evaluation(M&E) Officer of the County Health Team, Jarbah Tailey, says in 2014 typhoid represented 43% of cases registered at the Martha Tubman Memorial Hospital. The figure rose to 51% in 2015 and currently stands at 68% – an unprecedented upsurge.

Mr. Talley adds that the statistics is alarming, saying Grand Gedeh County is working to know the cause to rapidly define solutions to the problem. He further stated that the County Health Team has made strides to prevent and treat malaria in recent years.

The M&E for Grand Gedeh County Health Team confirmed that the Martha Tubman Memorial Hospital lacks some basic equipment to administer laboratory tests for some diseases such as typhoid – forcing many citizens in Grand Gedeh to visit private health centers for medication.

Zebedee Agric Bao, Gbarzon District Health Officer, told Local Voices recently that typhoid is also increasing in his district. “At least six out of ten patients in Gbarzon are diagnosed with typhoid,” Bao said.

Elsewhere in the south of the County, the Officer-In-Charge of the Ziah Town clinic noted that typhoid remains the major reason people go to the clinic.

According to statistics, 78% of patients in the County visit private health centers for treatment and the report also claims that most people in all three districts of the county seek medication at private clinics and drug stores.

Public Hospital struggling to Respond – Locals say

Patrick Weah, 36, residents of Disco Hill Community in Zwedru asserts that the situation could be attributed to the Martha Tubman Memorial Hospital inability to meet the health needs of the county.
Patrick claims that the hospital has been unable to do thorough medical examinations on patients most of the time.

“On several occasions, they (the hospital workers) will say the machines that do lab tests are down and there are no tablets to help us,” Patrick maintains, adding that the situation is frustrating and there’s need for government to speedily respond.

Health authorities argue that rigorous awareness and sensitization in communities will help prevent or tackle the disease in the county. Citizens have been urged to keep their foods covered and adapt best hygiene practices such as hand washing.

Sensitization Needed

Ellen S. Kollie, Public health Student at the Grand Gedeh County Community College, tells Local Voices Liberia it is now timely for schooled and unschooled community members to get involved with awareness in order to minimize typhoid in the county.

“I think it now is the time that everyone gets involved with the awareness process. Our people need to know what causes typhoid and how it can be prevented,” Ellen suggessted.

The student council president of the Mike Tuleh Wilson Assemblies of God Mission School said food vanders on campuses need to protect their food stuffs. Ezekiel Waylee added that the awareness must go across high school campuses to inform food sellers of the danger of not properly covering food items.

Student Ezekiel also wants the City Corporation to make sure that foods sold on the local market meet health standards. Typhoid is a disease of the intestine caused by an infection with the Rickettsia bacteria.

T. Wallace P.S. Dolo, is the case management and epidemic preparedness field coordinator for the International Organization Migration (IOM) for Grand Gedeh County.

Mr. Dolo explained that Fleas, mites, lice, and ticks are types of invertebrate animals known as arthropods. When infected arthropods bite someone, they may leave the bacteria that cause typhoid behind. Scratching the bite opens the skin and allows the bacteria to enter the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, the bacteria reproduce.

“The type of typhoid you are infected with depends on what bit you.” Dolo explains.
Mr. Dolo noted that Typhoid outbreaks usually occur in developing countries or in regions of poverty, poor sanitation, and close human contact. Untreated typhoid can lead to serious complications and it is potentially fatal.

Facts about Typhoid

Symptoms vary slightly by the type of typhoid. But there are symptoms that are associated with all three types of typhus, such as headache, fever, chills and rash.

Diagnosis is difficult because symptoms are common to other diseases like dengue (breakbone fever), malaria (infectious disease spread by mosquitos) and brucellosis (infectious disease caused by the brucella bacteria)

The incubation period for the disease is 10 to 14 days, on average. This means that symptoms won’t usually appear for 10 to 14 days after you are bitten.

Typhoid can be treated with antibiotics such as doxycycline (preferred treatment), cholramphenicol (option for those not pregnant or breast-feeding) and ciprofloxacin (used for those who are unable to take doxycycline) among others.

Maintaining personal hygiene (helps guard against lice carrying the disease). Controlling the rodent population (rodents are known to carry arthropods). Another way to prevent the disease is by avoiding travels to regions where typhoid exposure has occurred, or to countries that are high risk due to lack of sanitation.

Report By: Moses Geply

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