The number of reported cholera cases at the La General Hospital in Accra had shot up from one on July 9, 2014 to 586 as of yesterday, August 11, 2014, the Senior Health Service Administrator at the hospital, Mr Philip Afeti Korto, has said.
So far, the hospital has recorded eight cholera deaths.
He said within the past 48 hours, 74 new cases had been reported, and described the situation as alarming.
In view of the increasing number of cases, the hospital is under serious pressure for space.
Mr Korto said the patients were brought in from Teshie, Nungua, Osu, Labone, Spintex and Legon, while others were referral cases from other health facilities.
Currently, the Outpatients Department (OPD) of the hospital has been converted into a cholera bay, with the capacity to accommodate only 12 patients.
All OPD cases are attended to at a temporary place, while the hospital’s Psychiatric Unit has been converted into a temporary OPD for children.
The essence is to ensure that other sick people are not contaminated by those already affected by cholera.
Mr Korto said while the hospital had been able to manage the situation up till now, the daily numbers were putting stress on its accommodation.
He said the hospital had run out of beds and space to accommodate more patients and added that all the OPD benches were being used as beds.
On the introduction of tents, he said it was not the best option “because the tents cannot stand the weather. During the day time, the tents will be hot and we cannot put fans inside them. At night, there is the tendency that mosquitoes will enter, so as we treat cholera, malaria will also set in”.
Asked whether it had reached the situation when the hospital might have to turn away patients, Mr Korto retorted, “Why do you take a patient in when you can’t provide the care desired and the patient will rather die in your hands?”
He said when it got to that point, the hospital would liaise with other hospitals that might have space, so that patients whose condition had been stabilised would be transferred to those facilities.
He said currently government provided only the tetracyline and 5.4.1 IV fluids and the hospital had to provide the remaining items critically needed for the treatment of cholera.
Mr Korto advised the public to report suspected cholera cases to the nearest health facilities, stressing that early reporting was very critical to treating the disease.