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BREAKING: NCDC declares Cholera emergency as death toll rises to 53

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has declared a public health emergency as Nigeria faces a high risk of cholera transmission. As of June 24, 2024, the outbreak has claimed 53 lives out of 1,528 suspected cases across 31 states and 107 local government areas.

Dr Jide Idris, Director General of NCDC, announced the grim statistics at a press briefing in Abuja. He noted that Nigeria has had a case fatality rate of 3.5% since the start of the year. To combat the outbreak, the National Cholera Multi-Sectoral Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) has been activated to coordinate responses and support affected states.

“Unfortunately, we are facing another public health emergency just after dealing with Lassa fever and meningitis outbreaks,” Idris said. “These fatalities are not just statistics but represent significant losses in our communities, including family members and healthcare workers.”

The NCDC conducted a dynamic risk assessment with experts from various ministries, departments, agencies, stakeholders, and partners. The assessment placed the country at high risk of increased cholera transmission and impact, necessitating the activation of the EOC.

“The decision to activate the Cholera EOC underscores the gravity of the situation and our commitment to protect the health and well-being of every Nigerian,” Idris stated. The EOC aims to facilitate rapid communication, data analysis, and decision-making processes, mobilize resources, and enhance surveillance and diagnostic capacities.

Before activating the EOC, the NCDC managed the situation through a multi-sectoral National Cholera Technical Working Group. This group includes the Federal Ministries of Environment and Water Resources, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, the World Health Organisation, UNICEF, and other partners providing support to affected states.
Cholera, a food and water-borne disease caused by the ingestion of Vibrio cholerae, can spread through contaminated water and food.

The NCDC highlighted that cholera is easily treatable if detected early, primarily through oral rehydration solutions and appropriate antibiotics.
To prevent cholera, the NCDC advised ensuring access to safe drinking water, proper sanitation, and waste disposal. The public is urged to boil water before drinking, practice good hand hygiene, cook food thoroughly, protect food from contamination, avoid open defecation, and dispose of waste properly.
Healthcare workers are encouraged to practice standard safety precautions and intensify surveillance efforts to report suspected cholera cases.

The Sokoto State Government has yet to respond to the allegations but previously indicated plans to amend the local government and chieftaincy law to align with prevailing practices.

 

The amendment aims to synchronize the legal framework with customary procedures, maintaining the Sultanate Council’s role in recommending candidates while vesting appointment authority with the governor.
In conclusion, the NCDC’s declaration of a cholera emergency underscores the urgent need for coordinated action to protect public health and prevent further fatalities.

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Written by Olusesan Oba

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