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Diarrhoea trends suggest that more hard work is required<p>​​The City of Cape Town and its partners are squaring up for the annual surge in diarrhoea cases – specifically cases affecting children under the age of five, as this group is the most susceptible.​</p><div>During the warmer months – typically November to May – there is a marked increase in the number of diarrhoea cases among young children that can be fatal if not addressed timeously. Diarrhoea remains one of the leading causes of death in children under the age of five around the world, despite the fact that it is preventable and treatable with a simple mix of water, sugar and salt.</div><div><br></div><div>In Cape Town, the number of fatalities has decreased significantly in the last five years, as indicated in the table below:<br><span><div class="mobile-scroll">​​<br><table><thead><tr><th rowspan="1" colspan="1">    Year     </th><th rowspan="1" colspan="1"> Number of cases  </th><th rowspan="1" colspan="1"> Moderate dehydration </th><th rowspan="1" colspan="1"> Severe dehydration </th><th rowspan="1" colspan="1"> Fatalities </th></tr><tr style="text-align:center;"><td rowspan="1" colspan="1">​2015/16</td><td rowspan="1" colspan="1">​ 31 436</td><td rowspan="1" colspan="1">​4.9%</td><td rowspan="1" colspan="1">​1.6%</td><td rowspan="1" colspan="1">​26</td></tr><tr style="text-align:center;"><td rowspan="1" colspan="1">​2014/15</td><td rowspan="1" colspan="1">​25 602</td><td rowspan="1" colspan="1">​4.9%</td><td rowspan="1" colspan="1">​1.7%</td><td rowspan="1" colspan="1">​27</td></tr></thead><tbody style="text-align:center;"><tr><td colspan="1">​2013/14</td><td colspan="1">​31 500</td><td>5.6%</td><td>2.2%</td><td>65</td></tr><tr><td colspan="1">​2012/13</td><td colspan="1">​27 000</td><td>5.7%</td><td>2.2%</td><td>74</td></tr></tbody></table></div>​​</span><br></div><div><div>​A gradual decrease in the number of children diagnosed with dehydration has also been noted. This suggests that: </div><div><ul><li>child minders are more aware of the danger signs and seek medical assistance sooner<br></li><li>healthcare workers are better organised at fast-tracking sick children, doing rapid rehydration, and stabilising them, as well as doing rapid referrals to the appropriate level<br></li><li>Emergency Medical Services response times have improved ​<br></li></ul></div><div>‘This is a good news story for which we need to commend caregivers as well as healthcare providers, because it means that cases of diarrhoea are being picked up sooner, which reduces the risk of dehydration. The one concern, however, is the fact that the number of diarrhoea cases has not decreased. So while we are making progress in treating cases of diarrhoea where they occur, we still have a long way to go with our prevention efforts,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Health, Councillor Siyabulela Mamkeli.</div><div><br></div><div>Out of season, there is an average of 1 000 diarrhoea cases per month city-wide. During the peak of the surge period, that average increases to 7 000 a month. </div><div><br></div><div>Another concerning trend is an increase in pneumonia deaths in children under the age of one. Investigations found that in some of these cases, the children had experienced bouts of diarrhoea shortly before, suggesting that they developed malnutrition in the process which compromised their immune systems and made them more prone to other infections like pneumonia.</div><div><br></div><div>‘If we are to reduce the number of diarrhoea cases, we will have to work harder at ensuring good personal hygiene, especially hand-washing practices. At the same time, it is crucial to improve breastfeeding rates and Vitamin A supplementation coverage to bolster the immune systems of young children, making them less susceptible to diarrhoea and other ailments,’ added Councillor Mamkeli. </div><div><br></div><div><br></div><div><strong>End</strong></div><span><br></span></div>2016-11-19T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891dGP0|#e42bd0d2-6fd6-4126-805b-437fba7d2201;L0|#0e42bd0d2-6fd6-4126-805b-437fba7d2201|Diarrhoea;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb;GP0|#d64657dd-4f02-43cf-9e02-5f0329d9ca3d;L0|#0d64657dd-4f02-43cf-9e02-5f0329d9ca3d|personal heath care1


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