Cholera kills 3,604 Nigerians

Victims of cholera in a Nigerian hospital

Victims of cholera in a Nigerian hospital

By Abujah Racheal

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has said the country recorded 3,604 deaths from 111,062 suspected cases of cholera reported across 33 and the Federal Capital Territory in 2021.

According to NCDC, while 33 states and the FCT were ravaged by cholera, Anambra, Edo and Imo, did not report suspected cases during the period.

NCDC revealed this in its situation report for the 52nd epidemiological and last report for 2021.

“Thirty-three states and the FCT reported suspected cholera cases in 2021.

“These are Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Enugu, the FCT, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina and Kebbi.

“Others are Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, Rivers and Zamfara,’’ it said.

The NCDC said since the beginning of the year, the age group of five to 14 is the most affected age group for male and female. Of all suspected cases, 50 per cent are males and 50 per cent are females.

A breakdown, showed that Bauchi reported 19,558 cases, Jigawa (15,141), Kano (12,116) and Zamfara (11,931) this, it added accounted for 53 per cent of all cumulative cases.

“Eleven LGAs across five states of Bauchi (four), Zamfara (four), Kano (one), Katsina (one) and Borno (one) reported more than 1,000 cases each in the year.’’

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The centre said that difficulty in accessing some communities due to security concerns; open defecation in affected communities; lack of potable drinking water in some rural areas and urban slums were some of the challenges it encountered.

Others it said are inadequate vaccines to cover all LGAs, wards and settlements with cholera outbreaks; inadequate health facility infrastructure and cholera commodities for management of patients (Ringer’s lactate and ORS); inadequate trained personnel in states for case management; and poor and inconsistent reporting from states.

The agency promised to “develop state level preparedness and response plans and maintain communication with and support to states for data reporting and response.

“The centre will also develop and submit cholera vaccination request to the International Coordinating Group and the Global Task Force for Cholera Control for reactive and preventive cholera campaign with the NPHCDA, continue advocacy to state governments to increase funding in WASH infrastructure and pre-position response commodities across states.

“Build capacity for sample collection, transportation and laboratory diagnosis; planned after action review, planned review of the National Strategic Plan of Action on Cholera Control and scale up risk communications.”

It advised Nigerians to take hygiene seriously.

“Hand hygiene is one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of infectious diseases like Lassa Fever, COVID-19 and Cholera.

“We encourage the practice of regular hand hygiene (washing) to stay healthy,” it advised.

NAN reports that cholera is a waterborne disease and the risk of transmission is higher when there is poor sanitation and disruption of clean water supply.

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