Cholera outbreak claims seven lives in Katsina

Cholera outbreak claims seven lives in Katsina

Written by  Mustapha Salihu, Kano

Punch December 27, 2011

Katsina State has been hit by a cholera outbreak with no fewer than seven lives lost so far.

The Director of Epidiology and Disease Control in the state Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. A.T Hamza, said on Friday that about 77 others, infected with the disease, were receiving treatment in the hospital. He attributed the outbreak to poor sanitation and drinking of contaminated water.

Hamza, who advised local government councils in the state to establish epidemic preparedness and response committees, commended the state government for its efforts to minimise the impact of the disease.

The Commissioner for Health, Alhaji Danladi Nasidi, urged residents of rural areas to desist from drinking contaminated water.

Nasidi pointed out the need for councils to organise community enlightenment campaigns on environmental sanitation exercise.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation has donated 34 motorcycles to the Katsina State Government for disease surveillance.  

The motorcycles will be deployed for use by disease notification and surveillance officers at the LGAs. 

The state commended the organisation for the donation, noting that the motorcycles would assist the officers to reach all nooks and crannies of the state to receive report on the outbreak of diseases. 

Nasidi warned against misuse of the motorcycles, assuring that government would monitor their utilisation.

WHO Representative, Dr. Ado Buwaka, stated that the organisation resolved to donate the motorcycles in view of government’s commitment to boost the health sector. 

Also, the government has carried out immunisation against polio disease. About 2.1 million children were targeted in the four days exercise


The Director of Epidemiology and Disease Control has actually hit the nail on the head by attributing the cholera outbreak to poor sanitation and drinking of contaminated water. One wonders what the State has done with its MDG funds from the Federal Government.

Furthermore, what percentage of the annual budget of Katsina is devoted to water supply, and what proportion of the budget goes to sanitation? It is not good enough for the State to know the two principal factors responsible for cholera outbreak and then wait until there is an outbreak before speaking out. How much has the Director done in terms of sensitizing the Government? How good is the collaboration among relevant Government Ministries with respect to addressing the challenges of sanitation and potable water supply?

Back in 2006, an International Donor Agency was planning to start a programme on community monitoring of water quality. I do not know whether this was started. If it was, it is something to which all states of the Federation should subscribe. The advice from The Director of Epidemiology and Disease Control in the State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. A.T Hamza would not have been necessary if the community monitoring of water quality was in place. The advice is like medicine after death since this is not the first time that Katsina State would experience cholera outbreak.

While it sounds nice on the surface for the Commissioner for Health, Alhaji Danladi Nasidi to urge residents of rural areas to desist from drinking contaminated water, one wonders what the State has done with provision of potable water for these communities.

It is ludicrous for any State in Nigeria to wait for donation of motor cycles by an external donor agency before embarking on something as basic as disease surveillance when a single politician retired big army officers, top politicians, etc. can afford to do so from personal wealth. It is more than ludicrous for one to learn the State is not thinking of increasing the number of motor cycles, but it’s more concerned about their misuse. Are 34 motor cycles enough for full coverage of Katsina State?  Why would a state in Nigeria need foreign assistance to purchase motorcycles that total less than N3 million in the open markets of Nigeria?

Katsina State can borrow a leaf from the innovation in Osun State where the Rural Water and Environmental Sanitation Agency (RUWESA) uses the National Youth Service Corps members to carry out advocacy campaign on the dangers of ‘Open Defecation’.  This is done by using the ‘Community-Led Total Sanitation’ (CLTS) approach which helps in accelerating sensitization of communities and in reducing the incidence of cholera.



Update:  Cholera outbreak in northern Nigeria kills 97 so far (Global IntAKE), December 28, 2011.

Local government officials say cholera outbreaks across Katsina, Zamfara, Bauchi and Kano states in northern Nigeria have killed 97 people in the past two weeks, making it the worst outbreak in the north for several years, according to an official from National Primary Healthcare Agency (NPHA) in Abuja.

More than 60 people have died in Zamfara state in the past two weeks, according to Tukur Sani Jangebe, Zamfara’s state commissioner for religious affairs.

“It is quite alarming and it is quite unusual for northern Nigeria. If up to 100 people have died from cholera in just two weeks, you can only imagine how many more are affected by the disease,” an official from the government-run NPHA who requested anonymity, told IRIN.

National government officials have not yet publicly stated if the outbreaks across the separate states are related, or provided figures on the number of affected people.

Jangebe said the death toll may be higher as reports of new infections are still coming in.

In Katsina state in the villages of Makadawa and Kagadama, 20 people, mostly women and children, have died while 30 others have been hospitalised according to local government chairman Masur Usman Murnai. Another nine people have died in Nabardo village in Bauchi state since 13 September, with 40 more affected, according to Garba Sale, a primary health care coordinator. Kano State’s health commissioner Aisha Isyaku Kiru told IRIN five people have died of cholera in the state within the past week.


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