While delivering her R60 billion budget vote speech on Thursday, Gauteng MEC for health and wellness Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko gave an update on the cholera outbreak as the death toll rose to 20.
Over the past few days, the department has been grappling with a significant health crisis in the form of the cholera outbreak in Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria.
She said the department’s vigilance, preparedness and response must be as relentless as the threats the health system faced.
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The number of patients that have been seen at the Jubilee District Hospital as of May 24 was sitting at 179, and this number includes 18 patients who have been transferred to Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital and Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Tshwane.
The number of laboratory-confirmed cases of cholera was standing at 29.
“To date, 20 people have passed on from the disease outbreak. The total number of patients admitted due to gastrointestinal infection was 78. As the Gauteng provincial government, we extend our deepest condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones as a result of the diarrhoea outbreak.”
She also said her department would continue to upscale public health education programmes, “as knowledge is the most potent weapon in our fight against diseases”.
She assured the department of health would increase awareness about prevention, hygiene, and early detection.
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“We can empower our communities to become frontline defenders against health threats. We, therefore, plead with communities to heed the public health messages and follow the golden rules: to ensure proper hand hygiene, treat or sterilise water before drinking or cooking, ensure that food is cooked well and is kept covered, and always disinfect and clean surfaces.”
The department will continue to closely monitor the situation and provide the necessary support to the multidisciplinary teams working on the ground.