The country has not recorded any case of cholera since 2020, after one case of the disease was recorded in 2019, the Ghana Health Service (GHS) has said.
The progress has been attributed to factors, including improved access to potable water and lavatories, public adherence to hand washing with soap under running water and strict surveillance by the GHS.

In an exclusive interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra last Monday, the Director of Public Health at the GHS, Dr Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe, said improvement in access to potable water and lavatories had reduced risk factors, such as open defecation.

The country’s worst outbreak of cholera in the last three decades occurred in 2014 when 28,975 cases were recorded.

Preventive measures

Dr Asiedu-Bekoe also explained that even people who did not have access to toilet facilities had imbibed the principle of hand washing and sanitising regularly, thereby reducing their vulnerability to cholera.

“For the past three years, we have not had any case until recently when we had two suspected cases that came out negative,” he said.

“What is also good for us is that when we look at the country’s case for diarrhoea, it has gone done as well. This idea of hand washing has proved to be a game changer for improving health outcomes,” he added.

However, the director added that while the development was a good indicator for achieving the target of eliminating cholera by 2030, the risk factors should be continuously tamed to prevent them from triggering outbreaks.

Drinking water contaminated with faecal matter is the major cause of cholera, making open defecation and inadequate national access to potable water major risk factors.

The disease is characterised by vomiting and watery stool, and could lead to death within a few hours.


In 2010, the country recorded 466 cases of the disease; 5,671 were recorded in 2011; 9,548 in 2012; 22; 28,975 in 2014; 692 in 2015; 791 in 2016 and no case in 2017.

The 2021 Population and Housing Census (PHC) report released by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) revealed that the population with access to basic drinking water increased from 78 per cent in 2017 to 87.7 per cent in 2021.

Furthermore, the PHC indicated that 59.3 per cent of households had access to toilet facilities.

The population with access to basic sanitation facilities increased from 15 per cent in 2017 to 25.3 per cent in 2021, it added.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has indicated that prevention, preparedness and response depend on an effective surveillance system and are linked and interdependent.

It said there was the need to shift the emphasis from response to prevention in order to avert outbreaks by expanding access to improved sources of drinking water and improved sanitation and by working with communities to encourage behavioural change to diminish the risk of infection.

Additionally, oral cholera vaccines, which had proved to be safe and effective, were now considered to be part of a comprehensive and multi-disciplinary approach to cholera prevention and control, it said.


Cholera is an acute infection caused by taking in food or water faecally contaminated with a bacterium called Vibrio cholera.

It is usually linked to poor sanitation and inadequate access to safe drinking water.

It has a very short incubation period of two hours to five days. It is an acute diarrhoeal disease that can kill within hours if left untreated.

Prompt administration of oral rehydration salt (ORS) has been proved to be effective in the treatment. Patients who are severely dehydrated are at high risk of going into shock and will require prompt intravenous fluid administration.

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