Cholera outbreak linked to poor sanitation

Cholera outbreak linked to poor sanitation

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By Akinsuroju Olubunmi

Cholera outbreak linked to poor sanitation

Cholera outbreak linked to poor sanitation

The Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC), Dr. Jide Idris, has attributed the recent cholera outbreak in Nigeria to poor sanitation, personal and environmental hygiene, and lack of access to clean water. Speaking on Channels Television on Saturday, Idris highlighted the agency’s ongoing risk assessment and alert to all states regarding the outbreak.


Cholera, a water-borne disease caused by the ingestion of Vibrio cholerae, has seen an increasing trend in Nigeria as the rainy season progresses. The NCDC reported that from January 1st to June 11th, 2024, a total of 1,141 suspected and 65 confirmed cholera cases, resulting in 30 deaths, were recorded across 96 LGAs in 30 states.


Idris noted that 10 states—Bayelsa, Zamfara, Abia, Cross River, Bauchi, Delta, Katsina, Imo, Nasarawa, and Lagos—contributed 90% of the cholera burden. He emphasized that cholera is endemic and seasonal in Nigeria, occurring mostly during the rainy season in areas with poor sanitation.


According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there were 473,000 cholera cases reported in 2022, double the number from 2021, with an estimated increase of 700,000 cases for 2023. As of April, WHO reported 145,900 cholera cases and 1,766 deaths from 24 countries, with the African Region recording the highest numbers.


Idris stressed that cholera prevention relies heavily on basic sanitation and hygiene practices. “Prevention is very weak, and in a situation where resources are limited, that’s the best approach,” he said. He highlighted the importance of hand-washing, especially in areas lacking access to clean water.


He urged the Federal and state governments, local agencies, and communities to ensure access to clean water and sanitation facilities. He also called for the training of more environmental officers to enforce compliance with environmental standards.


Idris pointed out that the poor funding of the health sector exacerbates the issue. “You have very poor funding, and human resources are getting worse,” he said, emphasizing the need for better funding and positive health-seeking behavior among citizens.


The NCDC is assisting states in responding to the outbreak by conducting rapid assessments and sending necessary materials, including IV fluids and rapid test kits. The Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Muhammad Pate, is also working to provide the cholera vaccine.


Idris emphasized the importance of primary health care and addressing the inequities in health resources across states. “Primary health care is receiving serious attention, but there’s serious inequity. Some states have resources, most don’t,” he said.


He concluded that addressing issues of water, sanitation, and waste disposal is crucial in combating cholera. According to WHO, there are currently three pre-qualified Oral Cholera Vaccines—Dukoral, Shancho, and Euvichol—all requiring two doses for full protection. However, the cholera response is hampered by a critical shortage of these vaccines.


Sanitation, Outbreak

Cholera outbreak linked to poor sanitation

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