There’s been an increase in cholera cases in Nigeria. According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC), 233 deaths occurred between January and September 25th, 2022.
The centre in charge of the national response to the ongoing cholera outbreak in Nigeria has announced the launch of a campaign to improve water, sanitation, and hygiene in the country.
When asked about the cases of cholera, Lassa fever, and whether other diseases have been high this year compared to last year. And the factors responsible for this. Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, said;
“Last year, we had the unenviable position of recording the highest number of cholera cases worldwide. This year appears to follow the same pattern. But perhaps it’s not surprising because if the circumstances that contributed to the case numbers last year have not been dealt with, then we should have the same number of cases this year. So, it tells us that the necessary interventions that needed to have been put in place were not done at the scale desired to make an impact on cholera cases.
In addition, we do realise now that we have had flooding, the security challenges have led people to be displaced, and all of those are additional risk factors for waterborne diseases like cholera, which we are trying to respond to, along with our colleagues in the National Emergency Management Authority and respective state governments. It’s a very challenging situation.
At the moment, we have rapid response teams to help with the cholera response, and we have been providing commodities and supplies according to requests that we get to help with the cholera response. We are keeping an eye on the situation and will continue to offer assistance and help states respond to the various challenges within their borders.
For cholera, outside of a situation where you have a natural disaster with flooding, we need significant investments in water, sanitation, and hygiene. People require clean and safe water supplies, as well as safe sewage disposal.
At the moment, there are no clean and safe water sources. There is indiscriminate open defecation in communities. When the rainy season comes, all openly defecated materials are washed into the water sources, contaminating the rivers, ponds, and wells. People get their water from there and get cholera.
We need to make sure that at the local and state levels, authorities put in place water supply systems, boreholes, and pipes for water that will ensure that communities have access to safe water and discourage open defecation, which is what contaminates the water sources.”
Cholera is preventable and treatable. However, it can be fatal if infected people do not seek medical attention immediately. Nigerians should seek medical attention immediately if they experience a sudden onset of profuse watery diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, or weakness.
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