KAMPALA, May 8 (Xinhua) -- At Kalerwe, a slum area in Uganda's capital Kampala, women struggle to scoop water out of their houses after a heavy downpour.
Some houses, especially those in the swampy areas, are flooded up to window level.
In neighboring Bwaise, another slum area, the situation is the same. Some pit latrines have been submerged by floods, further compromising the hygiene of the place.
Health experts are now warning that these conditions favor the outbreak of diseases like cholera.
So far, four people from two families in Kalerwe have been confirmed to have the diarrheal disease and are now admitted at a city hospital.
The ministry of health fears that more cases may be reported. The Kampala outbreak, which was announced on Monday comes after another outbreak in neighboring Mpigi district.
In Mpigi district, three people from the same family are confirmed to have the disease and are now admitted at the same hospital as those patients from Kalerwe.
In Hoima district, over 200 km west of Kampala, there has been a raging outbreak that has left about 45 people dead and over 2,000 others, now discharged from hospital, since the outbreak was announced in February this year.
The ministry of health warns that some parts of the northwestern and eastern regions of the country are susceptible to having cholera outbreaks as the rain season hits it peak.
Cholera, according to the ministry, is a serious acute infectious disease characterized by watery diarrhea and vomiting and kills a person within hours. It is spread through eating and drinking food contaminated with fecal matter of an infected person.
Uganda is among the five African countries supported by the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children Fund and GAVI, global Vaccine Alliance, to use the Oral Cholera Vaccine (OCV) in the fight against the deadly disease.
The institutions in a statement issued on May 7 said they are targeting 2 million people by mid-June to stop the wave of the deadly outbreaks in Africa.
Matshidiso Moeti, WHO's Regional Director for Africa said the OCV exercise will be a game changer on the continent.
"With this historic cholera vaccination drive, countries in the region are demonstrating their commitment to stopping cholera from claiming more lives. We need to build on this momentum through a multisectoral approach and ensure that everyone has access to clean water and sanitation, no matter where they are located," Moeti said.
In Uganda, the exercise kicked off on May 2 in Hoima district where the highest number of deaths and admissions have been registered. The exercise is targeting to reach over 360,000 people in the district among which include Democratic Republic of Congo refugees hosted in the district.
The ministry said from now on, the OCV will be used its Integrated Cholera Prevention and Control Strategy.
"The vaccine reduces the risk of an individual getting sick with or dying of cholera," the ministry said.
For emergency purposes, the ministry has set up isolation centers in the capital Kampala and in Hoima where outbreaks have been registered. The move is intended to stop the spread.
The ministry has also rolled out a cholera awareness campaign where communities are told about its prevention and control measures. It has also intensified case management and surveillance of cholera cases.