At a glance: Sao Tome and Principe

Sao Tome and Principe: Containing a cholera outbreak

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By Kun Li

AGUA GRANDE DISTRICT, Sao Tome and Principe, 9 May 2005 – According to information obtained by UNICEF, nearly 80 per cent of the population in Sao Tome and Principe are at risk from a deadly cholera outbreak. As of today, 131 cases of cholera, including 57 among children, have been reported; three deaths have occurred.

Young children are particularly vulnerable to cholera, which causes diarrhoea that can lead to severe dehydration and even death. UNICEF Programme Officer and Office-in-Charge in Sao Tome, Batilloi Warritay, said that there are many young mothers under the age of 18 in the country.

“We are trying to ensure that these young mothers know how to properly prepare food and water for their children, and to make sure that their children don’t play outside in open areas where many water sources are contaminated,” he said.

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© UNICEF Sao Tome and Principe/2005
In Sao Tome and Principe, UNICEF is responding to the cholera outbreak by supporting improved sanitation, promoting public education on cholera prevention and increasing the supply of clean drinking water.

Support for fighting the outbreak

In order to help save children’s lives, UNICEF has rushed support to the country, Africa’s smallest nation. So far the organization has contributed nearly $53,000 to local health clinics to be used for medication, oral rehydration salts, water purification tablets, and water tanks.

Outreach workers have been deployed to inform the public on how to stay healthy and avoid contracting the disease. An emergency appeal for $88,000 is also underway.

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© UNICEF Sao Tome and Principe/2005
A contaminated river in Sao Tome

Cholera is the result of improper hygiene and sanitation practices, which result in contaminated food and water sources. “Only nine per cent of the population has access to proper toilet facilities. Large parts of the community can only use bushes and beaches [as sanitation facilities],” explained Mr. Warritay.

During the next two weeks, UNICEF will work with the Government and non-governmental organizations to develop low-cost toilets in order to improve sanitation in affected areas. UNICEF will also work on improving the supply of clean drinking water for children and families.


 

 

Audio

9 May 2005:
UNICEF Programme Officer and Office-in-Charge in Sao Tome, Batilloi Warritay, describes UNICEF’s efforts to help contain a cholera outbreak.

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Sao Tome and Principe

Common water and sanitation-related diseases

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