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A Cholera outbreak is currently hitting Mbale and our team in Uganda has taken steps to prevent it affecting as many of our pupils and families as possible.

So, we have given prevention awareness sessions (they call them ‘sensitisation sessions’) with all the children, we have banned handshakes, and are now putting dettol in water used for hand washing.

Handshakes are pretty common here, but for a while children should just give a small bow at a distance – if they forget, they are told to rush to one of our hand-wash stations and clean their hands!

That’s because cholera is highly infectious and particularly common in slum communities in developing countries. It causes severe watery diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration and even death if untreated. It is caused by eating food or drinking water contaminated with a bacterium called Vibrio cholerae.

The Mbale authorities are using the government-run Namatala Health Centre as a sort of quarantine zone for all local cholera patients. When the rumours of cholera in Namatala were heard, members of our Family Support Unit went to find out the truth of the situation. The Health Centre knows of our impact in the community and were keen to give us as much information as possible, so that we can help them combat the disease.