FW: Nigeria has a Cholera Problem

This article is part of our #FirstWord series to provide context on trending news.

Since the start of 2018, there have been reports of Cholera outbreaks in at least 9 states across the country. Including Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, which are conflict-affected areas in the Northeast.

The most recent outbreak was registered in Plateau State. 15 cases were recorded in Angwan - Rogo and at Abba na Shehu, 100 people have been hospitalised.


What's with Cholera?


Cholera is a disease that causes acute Diarrhoea in children and adults, it can lead to death if left untreated within hours. Caused by the bacteria, Vibrio Cholera, it is usually found in the stool of an infected person and spreads to other people when they consume contaminated water or food.

The transmission is more common in areas prone to overcrowding, poor hygiene and lack of clean food/water. As a result, it is most common in rural and low-income communities.

According to the NCDC (Nigeria Centre for Disease Control), January to June this year recorded a total of 13,009 suspected cases and 116 deaths, including 135 laboratory confirmed cases. These figures depict an emergency situation as they represent a fatality rate of 0.89%; below the 1% declared by the World Health Organisation (W.H.O) as an emergency.


How is Nigeria fighting Back?


W.H.O in collaboration with the Nigerian Government have been responding to outbreaks of Cholera across different States with different mechanisms. Not less than 2 million people in Nigeria and four other African countries have received Oral Cholera Vaccine under the W.H.O’s largest Cholera Vaccination drive.

In May, for example, when the outbreak was declared in Adamawa, an emergency operation center was set up. This center still caters to hygiene services, case management and surveillance of Cholera symptoms.

In Niger State, besides the collaboration with W.H.O and UNICEF, the Government released ₦25 million in June to curtail the spread of the deadly disease in the State. Mustapha Jibrin, State Commissioner of Health disclosed that the amount would be used to purchase required drugs needed to treat and curtail the disease.


Forging ahead


While the number of outbreaks over the past months have been alarming, the good news is that the Nigerian Government seems to be on its toes in curtailing the endemic.

There have been partnerships with the State health commissions and International organisations like the W.H.O, UNICEF (United Nations International  Children's Education Fund), Danish Refugee Council and Solidarites International.

Follow this Journalist on Twitter @AishaSalaudeen. Subscribe to read more articles here.