By Uche Amunike
The killer disease, Cholera has claimed the lives of over 2,300 people, leaving thousands infected especially children since the beginning of the year 2021, says a senior health official, Monday, in the country’s worst outbreak in years past.
The reason why Nigeria suffers from a high rate of water-borne diseases is because of her under investment and dilapidated infrastructure.
This was made known by Head of Communications, Yahya Disu of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC who added that by September 5, 2021, a total number of 69,925 suspected cases of 2,323 deaths have been reported.
According to sources in the health sector, the Cholera outbreak of 2021 has a higher fatality rate than the past four years. They believe that it was made worse by the high-level priority accorded the Coronavirus pandemic.
COVID-19, they said, has infected over 200,000 people in Nigeria and has also claimed 2,655 lives since February 2020.
Disu added that the cases were reported in 25 out of 36 States and the FCT, Abuja. He explained that the children that were most affected were those aged between 5 and 14 and said that 98% of the infections were gotten from the 19 northern states. Three northern states, he said, account for 52% of the cases. They are Kano, Jigawa and Bauchi.
He attributed heavy flooding, climate change and poor sanitation as probable reasons for the surge in the outbreak of the deadly cholera disease this year.
In the years 1991, 2010, 2014 and 2017, Nigeria witnessed a very large cholera outbreak but epidemiological patterns of the current outbreak might lead to out spacing in the death toll from previous outbreaks.
Disu, however stood his ground when he reiterated that there was a 58% decline in the number of new suspected cases in the week being reviewed. 1,667 names were compared against 3,992 names recorded and being reviewed in the previous week.
He said that health personnel and drugs have been sent to the affected areas while the personal hygiene has been intensified even as Public sensitization campaigns have been intensified as well.
Cholera, he said, is a water-borne bacterial infection which affects the intestinal tract. It has the symptoms of vomiting, fatigue, dehydration and watery stools.
It is easily transmitted by flies when they perch on food and it is advised that it is treated on time as it can prove fatal if not treated immediately.
In the past, cholera was common in many countries as a global scourge. But now, they are mostly confined to developing regions because the disease is linked to poor nutrition, poor water quality, etc
In his statement, a UNICEF Nigerian official, Oumar Doumbouya expressed great concern over the millions of Nigerian children about the recent Cholera outbreak in Nigeria, saying it is the worst ever recorded.
UNICEF has provided support to the Nigerian government by providing sanitation, hygiene, water and behaviour change interventions as their own quota to help fight the scourge.