Cholera spreads in Bauchi, BornoNigeria
The death toll in the cholera outbreak in Bauchi and Borno states has risen by another 129 in addition to the 231 reported last week. The number of infected persons has also increased from 4800 to 5,320 amid efforts by the Federal Government to check the crisis.
Already, the Lagos government has warned residents in the state against the disease, urging them to embrace higher standards of hygiene.
Regretting the rise in the number of victims, the Minister of Health, Dr. Onyebuchi Chukwu, disclosed the instant deployment of health officials to the crisis areas, including Taraba State for control and management of the epidemic.
Making this disclosure at the weekend at an event in Afikpo, Ebonyi State, the minister assured that efforts were being made to keep the situation under check. “We are on top of the situation. We are working with the affected states and local governments to step up efforts to arrest the spread of the cholera disease,” he said.
Confirming the instant supply of consignments of intravenous drugs to Bauchi and Borno states by the ministry to curtail the spread, the minister explained that he had also directed the Executive Secretary of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate to proceed immediately to Bauchi State to help the state government with intervention schemes already on ground.
Pate later told The Guardian that Bauchi State amid the cholera challenge had taken pragmatic intervention approaches.
According to Chukwu, the ministry’s epidemiological team headed by Dr. Henry Akpan has moved into the affected areas to provide technical support and other related endeavours to quell the scourge.
Stating that he would from today proceed to the states on an assessment tour and inspection of the teams, Chukwu tasked Nigerians on the need to maintain a hygienic environment saying: “The only way to stop cholera in Nigeria is to provide water, ensure hand-washing and sanitation and proper way of disposal of human waste. As far as you have human faeces dropped everywhere without proper means of disposal, we are bound to keep having this disease attack.”
However, the chief epidemiologist told The Guardian that the latest statistics of the victims of the cholera outbreak, were about 2,190 cases in Bauchi, with 72 deaths in 14 councils while 3,200 people were so far affected in Borno with 57 already dead in 16 councils.
Stating that the epidemic in Taraba State had been brought under control with no recent death, Akpan said that the outbreak did not emanate from any neighbouring country as was being speculated, but that it “first started from Adamawa State and that it is not a disease that spreads from place to place but is a disease of poor hygiene and shallow uncovered water wells.”
The Lagos State government warned that since the disease could be contracted through contaminated food and water, residents of the state should always observe personal hygiene.
In a statement, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, advised the public to remain vigilant and report any suspected case to the nearest hospital or the directorate of disease control in the ministry.
“Should the disease be suspected in any person who develops diarrhoea with or without vomiting, weakness, leg cramps, excessive loss of body fluids (dehydration) or dies from frequent stooling, adequate measures must be taken to reduce the risk of others being infected,” he said
He also called on residents in the state to always wash their hands with soaps and water; boil water before drinking if the source of the water is in doubt; wash fruits and vegetables before consumption; cook food thoroughly before eating; disposing of waste material properly; and keeping of water containers clean.
The commissioner further stated that in the case of suspected cholera, members of the public should prepare oral rehydration solution (10 level teaspoonfuls of sugar and one level teaspoonful of salt in two 35cl (mineral bottles); give the suspect a lot of fluid to drink; give the suspect food as soon as it can be tolerated; and thereafter visit the nearest hospital whether the condition of the suspect improves or not.
“Health workers are advised to be on the alert and report suspected outbreak of more than five cases in their facilities to the state Ministry of Health. People can also call the following numbers: 08023228573 or 0802321333 for assistance.”
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