By Jessica Onyegbula
Abuja – The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says Cholera has claimed 186 lives across the country in the last six months.
The centre also disclosed on Tuesday in Abuja that 16,008 cases of cholera were reported from affected states since the beginning of the year.
This is contained in an information sheet signed by the Chief Executive Officer, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, and posted on NCDC’s website.
Ihekweazu said that the figures were those received as at July 8, from 16 states in the country.
He said that NCDC and its partners had begun plans for a national cholera prevention campaign, prioritising states with the highest burden.
He said the campaign would drive prevention messages through the mass media, news media and community structures to reach households and communities.
Ihekweazu said that over the last few months, NCDC had been supporting many states to respond to outbreak of cholera.
“Although cholera cases are still being reported from eight states including Adamawa, Bauchi, Kano, Katsina, Zamfara, Kogi, Plateau and Kaduna, there has been a general decline in the number of new cases,’’ he said.
According to him, no cases have been reported in the last four weeks from Anambra, Nasarawa and Yobe states.
He noted that the primary focus of the response was to improve access to water and sanitation in these states.
He said that vaccination campaigns led by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) had been carried out in the most affected local government areas in Adamawa and Yobe states.
“In response to the outbreak, NCDC with support from its partners activated an Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to coordinate the response.
“Rapid Response Teams were deployed to affected states, where they focused on improving coordination, case management, risk communications and surveillance activities.
“The teams also supported the states in strengthening their laboratory capacity to guide interventions, especially oral cholera vaccination campaigns.
“The water, sanitation and hygiene component of the response has provided motorised solar-powered boreholes, sanitation units with hand washing facilities as well as blocks of latrine compartment in affected states,” he said.
Ihekweazu said that Nigeria was also working with other Lake Chad basin countries to strengthen cross-border collaboration for cholera control.
“The major challenge leading to outbreak of cholera is poor water and hygiene facilities in many states.
“This has contributed to the spread of the disease and yearly outbreaks in many states in Nigeria.
“This will not only help to prevent further spread of this outbreak, but will also help the prevention and preparedness for any future outbreaks,” Ihekweazu.