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Cholera: FG tells states, LGAs to Intensify surveillance

The Federal Government has urged states and local governments to scale up environmental health surveillance in places where food and drinks are sold nationwide. These…

The Federal Government has urged states and local governments to scale up environmental health surveillance in places where food and drinks are sold nationwide.

These places include markets, garages, schools, restaurants, stadia, religious and sporting events venues.

Dr Iziaq Salako, Minister of State for Environment, gave the directive in a statement on Monday in Abuja.

Salako emphasised that the measures would help avert further spread and transmission of cholera, as well as aid in the prevention and control of the disease.

He also urged all Commissioners for Environment and the Local Government Chairpersons to support environmental health officers across the country to step up sanitation and hygiene activities through enhanced community-led total sanitation.

According to him, it is also to strengthen collaboration with the health authorities and other stakeholders in line with the one health approach of the federal government.

The minister said that arrangements had been made to support most affected states with chlorine solution or tablets, water and food testing resources to avert further transmission across the country.

Salako noted that recent situation report from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) indicated a total number of 1,159 suspected cases, 65 confirmed cases and 30 deaths across 30 States.

He identified the most affected states contributing 90 per cent of the total cases to include Bayelsa, Lagos, Zamfara, Abia, Bauchi, Cross River, Ebonyi, Delta and Katsina.

“The ministry has been actively involved through the Department of Pollution Control and Environmental Health Council of Nigeria (EHCON) in activities to curtail further transmission of the deadly disease.

“The ministry has been involved through water and food testing to identified sources of infection, environmental sanitation campaigns and household water chlorination,” he said.

The minister identified cholera as a poor sanitation and hygiene driven disease and an acute diarrhoea infection caused by ingestion of unwholesome food or water contaminated with the bacterium vibrio cholerae.

Salako said that the disease remained a global threat to public health, affecting both children and adults and could lead to death if untreated promptly.

He further identified it as an extremely virulent disease that takes the period of 12 hours and five days for its symptoms to manifest.

“The common early symptoms are frequent watery stool that is usually milky white in colour, nausea and vomiting.

“Cholera outbreak is a seasonal public health event in Nigeria, occurring annually mostly during the rainy season and often in areas with poor sanitation and hygiene practices.

“Extreme climate events like flooding are also contributing in multiple ways to drive the outbreak of the disease.

“The World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed the global resurgence of cases of cholera classifying the current outbreak as “grade three public health emergency”, requiring maximal WHO system wide response.

“Nigeria is one of the 14 countries in Africa where the resurgence is being experienced,” he said.

The minister urged the populace to be more vigilant and to imbibe good sanitation and hygiene practices at home and in their workplace.

He further tasked all and sundry on preventive measures such as keeping their environment clean always and disposing of waste properly at designated places. (NAN)

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