In light of the current cholera outbreak in Ghana, Farm Radio International’s Ghana office arranged for the following radio script to be distributed to many of FRI’s broadcasting partners in the country. The script touches on both the prevention and treatment of cholera. It was adapted from a piece written by Kuma Drah. Broadcasters across Africa can use this information to create their own radio spots and other pieces on cholera.
VOICE I: Do you know how you can prevent the loss of lives during an outbreak of cholera? Let’s find out more about cholera from a doctor.
VOICE 2: Cholera is a severe diarrhea-like infection that is caused by eating food or water contaminated by a particular kind of bacteria or germ. Cholera can kill untreated people within hours through excessive loss of fluid.
VOICE 1: How can we prevent cholera?
VOICE 2: You can prevent cholera by taking the following three steps:
First, drink only boiled or treated water and bottled or canned carbonated beverages.
Second, wash your hands often with soap and clean water.
Third, if soap and water are not available, wash your hands with an alcohol-based hand cleaner that contains at least 60% alcohol.
It’s most important to clean your hands before you eat or prepare food and after using the toilet.
You should also:
Eat foods that are packaged or that are freshly cooked and served hot.
Avoid eating raw or undercooked meats or seafood, or unpeeled fruits and vegetables.
Dispose of faeces in a sanitary manner to avoid contaminating water and food.
VOICE 1: Doctor, what should we do when we suspect that someone has cholera?
VOICE 2: Cholera can be simply and successfully treated by immediately replacing the fluid and salts lost through diarrhea. Patients are given oral rehydration solution, also called ORS. ORS is a pre-packaged mixture of sugar and salts which is mixed with water and drunk in large quantities. You can also prepare your own ORS at home if ORS packets are not available.
VOICE 1: Doctor, how do I prepare ORS at home?
VOICE 2: You need three ingredients: First, 1 litre or five 200-millilitre cups of clean water.
Second, six level teaspoons of sugar.
Third, half a level teaspoon of salt.
Stir the mixture till the sugar dissolves.
The patient should drink as much of the mixture as possible in order to replace the excessive loss of fluid.
VOICE 1: What next, Doctor?
VOICE 2: Rush the patient to a health facility. Remember that cholera is a germ usually found in water or food that has been contaminated by the faeces of a person infected with cholera. You can prevent the spread of cholera by keeping your hands, food, water and surroundings clean.
VOICE 1: Thank you very much, Doctor, for your clear and concise advice to keep our hands clean, eat and drink only food and liquids we know to be safe, prevent our faeces from contaminating water supplies, and rehydrating and seeking medical assistance as soon as possible.