Nigeria’s cholera epidemic: South-South governors activate containment measures

Cholera banner. Credit: UCR News

Some South-South governors have activated emergency response centres to contain any eventual cholera outbreak in their respective domains.

Government sources from Cross River, Akwa Ibom and Rivers disclosed no confirmed cholera cases in the states.

They said that the states had already commenced sensitisation campaigns to educate residents on measures to mitigate the disease.

Between January 1 and June 11, 96 local government areas in 30 states reported cases of cholera outbreaks.

According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC), no fewer than 1,141 suspected cases, 65 confirmed cases, and 30 deaths from cholera have been reported during the period.

Cholera is an infectious bacterial disease of the small intestine caused by the ingestion of the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, contracted from contaminated water and food.

Speaking in Akwa Ibom, Health Commissioner Augustine Umoh said, “For now, there is no reported case of cholera outbreak in the state.”

He said the government had already commenced a sensitisation programme in all 31 local government areas on the essence of maintaining personal and environmental hygiene.

He urged residents to adopt household water treatment schemes such as boiling, filtering and disinfection before using.

“We have to wash our hands with soap and clean water regularly, especially after using the toilet and before eating. We are also urging our people to wash fruits and other food items before eating,” he said.

Mr Umoh said that apart from sensitisation, the government had taken other steps to prevent any eventual outbreak of the disease in the state.

The Commissioner further said that the Akwa Ibom government would continue to monitor and ensure surveillance, especially in the border communities.

Mr Umoh urged the residents to take salt-sugar solution in case of diarrhoea and report to the nearest health centre for prompt action.

We have to wash our hands with soap and clean water regularly, especially after using the toilet and before eating. We are also urging our people to wash fruits and other food items before eating.

Rivers Health Commissioner Adaeze Oreh confirmed the absence of any confirmed case of cholera across the state’s 23 local government areas.

She said that although there were no active cases, there were reports of acute watery diarrhoea a month earlier, and none were currently active.

About four weeks ago, we had about 16 suspected cases of acute watery diarrhoea in three coastal communities of Andoni LGA, with two associated deaths.

Ms Oreh disclosed that the state government had deployed medical supplies to areas prone to infectious diseases.

She added, “The infectious disease treatment centre at Rivers State University Hospital, which was marked for upgrade into an infectious disease institute, is now fully equipped to manage cases.

“The state government is working closely with the World Health Organisation, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, and other relevant stakeholders to safeguard the health of residents.”

Ms Oreh said that the health ministry had enhanced the skills of health professionals and initiated health awareness campaigns, promoting safe hygiene practices.

She also said that a surveillance system had been on high alert regarding potential triggers of infectious diseases.

The commissioner reiterated the state government’s commitment to providing adequate support, response, and containment of viral diseases.

Ms Oreh advised residents to uphold good hygiene habits such as drinking clean water, eating well-cooked food, thoroughly washing fruits and vegetables before consumption, and avoiding open defecation.

Cross River health commissioner Henry Ayuk disclosed no recent confirmation of a cholera outbreak in the state.

He explained that the last record of a confirmed case of cholera in the state was in January 2024, saying, “This was effectively addressed.”

According to him, the state is fully prepared for any emergency response to the current nationwide cholera outbreak.

However, Mr Ayuk advised residents to take preventive measures, such as maintaining good personal hygiene, eating safe foods, drinking clean water, and avoiding crowded environments.

He appealed to the residents to quickly report any diarrhoea, stooling, vomiting, or other cholera-related symptoms to the nearest health facility.

He maintained that the state government was always committed to the health and well-being of its citizens. (NAN)

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