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China Oil Giant - CNOOC Uganda donates 85M in drugs to treat cholera at Exploration District

Residents of Ntoroko district Uganda in the oil-rich Lake Albert basin have received drugs worth sh85m to treat Cholera.
The disease has claimed two lives and left over 80 people admitted in critical conditions just in 21 days.

Limited personnel, poor roads, inadequate drugs, clean water and medical supplies have slowed the recovery process.

However, CNOOC Uganda, over the weekend intervened with medicine supplies worth sh85m which it handed over to the district authorities.

“When we heard the bad news of cholera outbreak, we acted faster to bring medicines so that we don’t lose more lives,” Qui Zongjie, the CNOOC Uganda general manager in charge of oil development and production.

He said the intervention is part of their social corporate responsibility to help communities around the area where they have operations.

CNOOC Uganda generosity comes just four month into Uganda’s nascent oil and gas industry. The firm is carrying extensive oil drilling in the Kanywataba prospects and Kingfisher production area.

Dr Simon Ssentamu, the Ntoroko district health officer, attributed the outbreak to people who fish from Lake Albert on the side of Hoima and Nebbi where cholera was reported recently.

“It is true we had an outbreak of disease and most samples that we tested turned positive to cholera and two people have since died but we are doing our best to stop the spread,” he said.

“The disease has a lot of stigma associated with it and people don’t want to be identified that they were affected by cholera. Today four patients escaped from the health centers and discharged themselves before they were totally healed.”

The health officer, however, thanked CNOOC Uganda operations for providing the needed medicines which included Erythromycin, Ciprofloxacin tablets, Cephalexin, Amoxyccillin and Chloramphenicol capsules.

Others were Intravenous fluids and oral rehydration salt among others.“We have received a lot of medicines and other supplies from one of our partner CNOOC to fight the colony of bacteria and other infections,” Dr Ssentamu said.

Timothy Kyamanywa, the district head urged people to observe proper hygiene and boil water for drinking in order to avoid water borne disease.

“I do not want to see the 2007 repeat when we lost 15 people due to cholera, observe proper hygiene and avoid drinking unboiled water otherwise we will continue to die from diseases which we can easily prevent,” he said.

Richard Badaki, the in charge of Kanara health center III said that, it has been a very difficult time to handle cholera patients due to lack of human resource, infrastructure, water gloves and other supplies.

“We are only four staff at this health center, we have no beds patients are sleeping at the veranda without mattresses while other use incomplete building without windows and doors and we had a great challenge of drugs,” he said.

By Ibrahim Kasita and Hope Mafaranga
The New Vision Newspaper
18 June 2012

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