20 September 2012
Last updated at 15:58
More than 18,500 cases of cholera have now been reported in Sierra Leone's worst outbreak of the disease for 40 years. Some 271 deaths have been confirmed since the outbreak was reported two months ago, the Red Cross says.
The dumping of waste, lack of sanitation and the massive rains all contribute to the high cholera risk in one of the world's poorest countries.
Mashiwe Turey, in her 70s, came to the cholera ward in the Port Loko district hospital with the assistance of her daughter. She had been vomiting several times and was dehydrated. She is now receiving oral rehydration salt treatment.
Wara Fonah, four, was admitted to the cholera ward because of high fever and vomiting. Her parents suspected she was suffering from cholera, but the eventual diagnosis was possible malaria. It is common for patients to suffer from multiple medical conditions or to be initially given the wrong diagnosis.
In Sierra Leone, the quality of the water is frequently poor and not suitable for drinking. This means that patients often have to buy their own water or oral rehydration salts from local sellers. Here, the watertanks at Makeni regional hospital in the Bombali district contain clean water.
Simple measures such as washing hands with soap can help prevent the disease from spreading.
Another simple measure is to build a ramp to the cholera ward, so it has its own entry point, minimising the risk of contamination of other patients. More heavy rains are forecast around Freetown, raising fears that the outbreak could worsen.