December 5, 2023

FG pledges to tackle cholera outbreak in states

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By Tosin Kolade

The Federal Government on Thursday pledged to work with state governments
to tackle cholera outbreaks and deaths in many parts of the country.

Mr Ibiyemi Olu-Daniels, a Director in the Water Quality Control and Sanitation Department, Federal Ministry of Water Resources,
made the pledge at the ongoing Technical Support Workshop for the Development of Cholera Emergency Preparedness
and Response (EPR) Plan in Asaba, Delta.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that cholera is a highly contagious water-borne disease, affecting public health
safety in many regions.

However, the director said that the ministry was committed to working with state governments and relevant stakeholders
to check any outbreak by providing safe, clean water and sanitation services.

He said that over the years, the Federal Government had supported states with several initiatives and projects, including
hygiene promotion and capacity building.

This, he said, was aimed at increasing access to safe and clean water and improving sanitation and hygiene practices
across the country.

Olu-Daniels added that the workshop is an opportunity for experience sharing and knowledge, adherence to best
practices in emergency preparedness and response to cholera outbreaks and related emergencies.

He said “it is also an opportunity to establish a strong collaboration between Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) stakeholders
in Delta State towards a cholera-free state.

“I am confident that this workshop will equip us with the necessary skills, tools and resources to develop effective cholera
emergency preparedness and response plans, as well as establish a strong WASH emergency working group in Delta.

“I encourage participants to actively engage in discussions, share experiences and knowledge, and collaborate toward
a common goal of improving public health in Nigeria.”

He said states must have separate budget lines to cater for WASH interventions, saying with coordination and adequate funds, cholera would be prevented.

Mrs Jane Emonena, the Director, Sanitation, Delta State Ministry of Water Resources, said access to WASH is the first line of defence in any form of emergency.

She defined cholera as an acute diarrheal illness caused by infection of the intestine with the bacteria Vibrio cholerae, adding that children are mostly at risk.

She mentioned the mode of transmission of cholera to include faecal-oral contaminated water, contaminated food and drinks, among others.

She highlighted the importance of handwashing, proper waste disposal, water treatment in managing cholera cases in the state.

According to her, 45 communities reported cholera outbreaks in five local government areas in 2020.

She said “414 cases and 15 deaths were recorded in five local government areas, namely Bomadi, Burutu, Ughelli, Patani and Ughelli North in 2020.

“In 2021, there was outbreak in five local government areas, 264 cases and 13 deaths recorded.

“Local government areas affected were Ughelli North, Ughelli South, Patani, Warri South and Warri North.”

The director stressed the need for stakeholders’ collaboration toward ending cholera and improving public health.

She added that political actors must go beyond action plans to funding cholera preparedness and response plan.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the workshop outcome include the establishment of the Delta State
WASH in Emergency Working Group and development of a Cholera Preparedness and Response Plan.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says no fewer than 583 Nigerians died of cholera in 2022.

It reveals that 23,550 cases were reported from across 32 states, including the Federal Capital Territory, between January
and November 2022. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu

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