The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) yesterday disclosed that 233 deaths were recorded from January to September 25th, 2022, in the country.
The centre which is leading the national response to the ongoing outbreak of cholera said it has commenced campaign on strengthening water, sanitation and hygiene in Nigeria
In a signed statement, the Director General of the Centre, Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa stated: “A total of 2187 confirmed cases of cholera have been reported from 31 states and 233 deaths recorded from the 1st of January to the 25th of September 2022.”
According to him, following a recent increase in the number of cholera cases, NCDC activated multi-sectoral National Cholera Technical Working Group (TWG) in collaboration with partners to support affected states in risk communication, active case search, case management, and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) interventions.
He added: “The NCDC-led multi-sectoral TWG include: representation from the federal ministries of Environment and Water Resources, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), the World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other partners.”
He said the cholera outbreak was exacerbated by limited access to clean water and sanitation facilities, open defecation, and poor hygiene practices.
The DG stated that the NCDC and its partners have supported the affected states with commodities for case management and laboratory diagnosis, materials for risk communications, and response guidelines among other things.
Adetiba however said medical interventions alone were not sufficient to address the root causes -water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) – of cholera outbreaks.
He further said the NCDC would continue to advocate to state governments to prioritise action for solutions that ensure access to and use of safe water, basic sanitation and proper hygiene practices in communities.
“We also urge Nigerians to keep their environments clean, only drink or use water that is boiled and stored safely, ensure food is cooked and stored in a clean and safe environment, avoid open defecation, and wash their hands regularly with soap and running water.
“Cholera is preventable and treatable; however, it can be deadly when infected people do not access care immediately. Nigerians are advised to visit a health facility immediately if they have sudden onset of profuse watery diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and weakness.
“Cholera is a waterborne disease and the risk of transmission is higher in areas that lack adequate sanitation facilities and/or a regular supply of clean water.
“Unsafe practices such as improper disposal of refuse and open defecation endanger the safety of water used for drinking and personal use,” he added.
The NCDC boss explained that such practices lead to the spread of water-borne diseases such as cholera.
“Without proper WaSH, Nigeria will continue to be at risk of cholera outbreaks along with the associated suffering and deaths.
“The long-term solution for cholera control lies in access to safe drinking water, maintenance of proper sanitation (especially the discontinuation of open defecation) and the practice of hygiene.
“We call for an urgent improvement in access to clean water, proper sanitation, and hygiene,” he said.
Cholera is a water-borne disease characterised by the sudden onset of profuse watery diarrhea, which could lead to sudden death because of the rapid onset of dehydration, if not managed on time.
Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and weakness. Most infected people may only show mild symptoms or have no symptoms at all. The time between infection and the appearance of symptoms of the disease is two hours to five days.
The disease is easily treatable if detected early. Most infected people can be treated successfully through prompt administration of oral rehydration solution (ORS) to replace lost fluids and electrolytes.
It affects people of all ages living in places with limited access to clean water.