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NCDC bemoans state of water, sanitation facilities as Cholera kills 816 Nigerians

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, yesterday lamented the state of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, WASH.

It also disclosed that a total of 816 Nigerians have lost their lives to cholera, while 31,425 suspected cases were recorded between January and August 1, 2021.

In a statement  signed by the Director-General of the agency, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, the NCDC called for urgent need to strengthen Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, WASH, facilities nationwide.

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According to him, poor access to clean water, open defecation, poor sanitation, and hygiene has worsened the outbreak across states in Nigeria.

As of  August 1, 2021, a total of 31,425 suspected cases of Cholera including 816 deaths had been reported from 22 states and FCT.

The affected states include Benue, Delta, Zamfara, Gombe, Bayelsa, Kogi, Sokoto, Bauchi, Kano, Kaduna, Plateau, Kebbi, Cross River, Niger, Nasarawa, Jigawa, Yobe, Kwara, Enugu, Adamawa, Katsina, Borno and FCT.

“The National Cholera EOC has led to the deployment of Rapid Response Teams to support the most affected states – Benue, Kano, Kaduna, Zamfara, Bauchi and Plateau States. Additionally, NCDC and its partners have provided states with commodities for case management and laboratory diagnosis, materials for risk communications, response guidelines among other support,’’ Ihekweazu said.

He, however, noted that none of the medical interventions would solve the underlying issues leading to cholera outbreaks as the disease remained a waterborne disease, with high risk of transmission.

He decried the wrong disposal of refuse and practices, such as open defecation, which endangers the safety of water used for drinking and personal use.

“These lead to the spread of water-borne diseases such as cholera. Without proper water, sanitation, and hygiene (WaSH), Nigeria remains at risk of cholera cases and deaths,’’ he added.

The NCDC boss said the long-term solution for cholera control laid in access to safe drinking water, maintenance of proper sanitation and hygiene.

He said:  We continue to advocate State Governments to prioritise action for solutions that ensure access to and use of safe water, basic sanitation and good hygiene practices in communities.’’

Ihekweazu urged Nigerians to keep their environments clean, drink or use water boiled and stored safely, ensure food was cooked and stored in a clean and safe environment, avoid open defecation and wash hands regularly with soap and running water.

“Cholera is preventable and treatable; however, it can be deadly when people who are infected do not access care immediately.

‘’Nigerians are advised to visit a health facility immediately, if they have sudden onset of profuse watery diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, and weakness,’’ he said.

Ihekweazu further called for an urgent improvement in access to clean water, proper sanitation and hygiene as the NCDC continues to work with partners to lead the health-sector response to cholera outbreaks.

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