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Nigeria’s cholera cases rise in 9 months

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By Abiodun Okunloye

Nigeria records 233 cholera deaths, 2187 confirmed cases in 9 months, says NCDC.

The Nigerian Center for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) announced on recently that a total of 2187 confirmed Cholera cases had been reported from 31 different states across the country. This comes as some areas of Nigeria continue to be affected by an outbreak of the disease. In addition, it stated that as of September 25, 2022, at least 233 deaths had been recorded from the beginning of the year until that point and it demanded an immediate improvement in the availability of clean water, adequate Sanitation, and hygiene.

An advisory issued by the Nigerian Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) and titled “Stop Cholera:”Strengthening Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WaSH) in Nigeria” and signed by the NCDC’s Director General, Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, explained that the most recent outbreak had been made worse by limited basic facilities, poor hygiene practices and Sanitation/open-defecation/" target="_blank">Open Defecation. Dr. Adetifa stated that as a response, the NCDC and its partners had assisted the affected states by providing several things, such as materials for risk communications, response guidelines, commodities for case management and laboratory diagnosis.

There should be access to clean facilities in order to fight cholera.

However, in order to put an end to this, medical interventions on their own are not enough to tackle the root causes of Cholera outbreaks, which are a lack of water, Sanitation, and hygiene (WaSH). In response to the recent rise in the number of confirmed cases of Cholera, the multi-sectoral National Cholera Technical Working Group (TWG), with some partners has been providing the affected states with support in the areas of risk communication, case management, active case search and water, Sanitation, and hygiene (WaSH) interventions.

Multi-sectoral TWG is being led by the NCDC, and it includes representatives from the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), the Federal Ministries of Environment and Water Resources, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), and other partners. Dr. Adetifa explains that Cholera is a disease that is spread through water, and the risk of it being passed on to others is greater in regions that are not equipped with sufficient Sanitation facilities or do not have a consistent supply of clean water.

Unsafe practices propagate the spread of cholera.

Furthermore, he affirmed that unsafe practices such as Sanitation/open-defecation/" target="_blank">Open Defecation and improper disposal of refuse put the safety of water used for drinking and personal use in danger. Those certain practices contribute to the propagation of diseases that are transmitted through water, such as Cholera. In the absence of adequate water, Sanitation, and hygiene (WaSH), Nigeria will continue to be at risk for the outbreak of Cholera, along with its related suffering and loss of lives.

The long-term solution for the control of Cholera lies in access to some basic and clean resources such as safe drinking water, the maintenance of proper Sanitation (especially the discontinuation of Sanitation/open-defecation/" target="_blank">Open Defecation), and the practice of hygiene. He added that they would continue to encourage the state governments to prioritize taking action toward finding reasonable solutions that will ensure communities have access to and use clean water, basic Sanitation, and appropriate hygiene practices all the time.

Adetifa affirmed that cholera is preventable and treatable.

He clarified that Cholera is both preventable and treatable but that it can be fatal if infected people do not receive medical attention as soon as they become sick. Dr. Adetifa advised the people of Nigeria to seek medical attention as soon as possible if they experienced a sudden onset of severe and watery diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, or weakness. While the NCDC continues to collaborate with partners to lead the health-sector response to Cholera outbreaks, a call has been made for an urgent improvement in access to clean water, proper Sanitation, and hygiene.

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