October: the Cholera Month in Nigeria; Cholera Kills 96 In Zamfara and several in six other states

When the news of cholera outbreak in Zamfara was first broken in mid October, I quickly searched my document library for the various water projects in Nigeria, recalling that I had just read about Zamfara’s commendable investment in potable water.

The state committed  seven billion Naira  in April of this year for the provision of water.  However, the announcement of the huge fund committed to water supply failed to give any hint on what the state intended to do on sanitation. It is therefore interesting to learn in October that the consumption of polluted water in this same state  lead to the demise of 96 people and the illness of more than 500 people in this state.

  It is commonly acknowledged that potable  water provision without sanitation usually fails to have desired health impact. For example, Esrey, S. A., et al (1991) compiled a table that was based on ‘Rigorous Studies’ on Expected Reductions in Diarrhea Disease Morbidity From Improvements in One or More Components  of Water and Sanitation. Thus for water and sanitation, there is 30% reduction; for sanitation, the reduction is 36%; for water quality and quantity, the reduction is 17%; for water quality, the reduction is 15%; for water quantity, the reduction is 20%; for hygiene, the reduction is 33%. In essence sanitation has the highest reduction and Zamfara and other states in Nigeria need to devote equal attention to sanitation delivery whenever they are planning and budgeting for improvement in  water supply.

It is also necessary to note that the three tiers of governments in the country should aggressively promote behaviourial change among low-income families and slum dwellers in order to reap the desired impacts of any of their water supply and sanitation investments.

I’ve pasted below most of the newspaper articles  on cholera in October 2013. What is painful about the current outbreak of cholera is that The Federal Government  is in denial about the number of people who lost their lives – it reported that Plateau State claimed, on October 21, that “…only three people, not eight died from the illness.” This is in contrast to the figure quoted Daily Newswatch of October 30 that Jang said eleven people were confirmed dead, while 136 others were infected by cholera.

Finally, Daily Newswatch of October 30, 2013 reported that 6 states battle cholera in the country. This is really not good enough when one considers the various capital outlays on water by all three tiers of government  in the country.

DEPO ADENLE.

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Cholera Kills 96 In Zamfara

by Abba Abubakar Kabara, Leadership,  October 10, 2013

About 96 people mostly children were allegedly killed in two weeks by cholera outbreak in Zamfara State, while over 500 more victims are currently said to be receiving the attention of Medicine Sans Frontiers (MSF).

Though the permanent secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr Umar Lawal, has confirmed the epidemic outbreak, he however declined to confirm the number of those killed so far.

LEADERSHIP gathered that the incident resulted from the consumption of polluted water. Water is scarce especially in the state capital Gusau.

A source revealed that Maradun, Anka, Bungudu and Gusau local government areas were seriously affected with the highest record of death toll following water scarcity that allegedly compelled the local communities to resort to the use of ponds as major sources of water.

MSF was invited to Shagari Hospital in Gusau, where the construction of temporary camps for the treatment of victims is currently ongoing, to pay urgent medical attention to over 70 affected persons.

Though journalists were denied access to the temporary treatment camps, a woman who was in-charge of MSF said there had been a directive from a certain quarter not to release any piece of information pertaining to the level of disaster.

Another source from Maradun and Bungudu local government areas contended that the death toll had risen to 11 and 17 respectively, adding that the situation is growing worse as more victims were getting infected.

The state commissioner of health, Alhaji Kabiru Janyau, who confirmed the incident on phone, also declined to mention the officially recorded cases of deaths from the epidemic. He said the outbreak was actually caused by the consumption of contaminated water by the affected communities.

Kabir said his ministry had already dispatched teams of medical officers to all the volatile areas to ensure that the situation was brought under control.

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Nigeria government begins investigation of cholera outbreak in Plateau village

Published: October 21,2013

The Plateau State Government said only three people, not eight have died from the illness.

The Federal Ministry of Health is to begin investigations into the suspected outbreak of cholera in Namu Village in the Qua’pan Local Government Area of Plateau, an official of the ministry has said.

Akin Oyemakinde, the Chief Consultant Epidemiologist in the ministry, told the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Abuja that the investigation would determine the kind of intervention to be deployed to the community.

“The ministry is already aware of the outbreak of cholera in Plateau and has sent some team of experts to carry out proper investigations,” he said.

“After the investigation, we will have a comprehensive detail of the situation and the necessary interventions deployed to the areas.”

Mr. Oyemakinde assured that the ministry was on top of the situation and would ensure that it curtailed the spread of the disease.

An epidemiologist in Plateau, Raymond Yuryit, had confirmed the death of eight people with 61 others hospitalised since the outbreak of the epidemic in the state.

Mr. Yuryit said those hospitalised had been diagnosed with the disease and admitted in various health centres. He attributed the outbreak to overcrowding, dirty environment and consumption of unhygienic food and water.

While the federal government says it is aware of the cholera outbreak, authorities in Plateau say it is yet to be confirmed.

The Director, Primary Healthcare of the Plateau State Ministry of Health, Ibrahim Gontu, made the disclosure on Monday in an interview with PREMIUM TIMES.

According to the medical expert, epidemiologists from the ministry, currently at Namu, had sent in preliminary reports, saying that they were yet to confirm the incidence of cholera. They, however, noted that there were cases of diarrhoea and vomiting among patients.

Mr. Gontu attributed the situation to the increase in human population within the area, due to the presence of refugees from Nasarawa State.

The Plateau State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, about a month ago, said that about 7, 000 people were displaced from Nasarawa.

“You know that there is a tremendous increase in the human population in Quanpan, particularly in Namu; of course, the sanitary condition of the area will change. That is why there are reported cases of diarrhoea and vomiting, especially among children. But the Ministry has sent in medical experts to take control of the situation, and they have said that it was not a cholera outbreak,” Mr. Gontu said.

The official also disputed the reports that eight people were killed by the “cholera outbreak.”

According to him, only three people have died since the onset of the incident. He said that drugs and other preventive materials have been taken to the affected areas.

Mr. Gontu also advised that people should observe more sanitary habits, particularly when cooking.

PREMIUM TIMES, however, gathered that there has been a shortage of potable water in the areas inhabited by the refugees; and very few of the refugees have been able to find habitable shelter.

Cholera kills five in Sokoto, says health official

Published: October 21,2013

All the deceased persons were aged between 27 and 30 years.

The Deputy Director of Health of Tambuwal Local Government Area of Sokoto State, Bala Oroji, said on Monday that five persons died of suspected cholera at Barkeji Village in the area.

Mr. Oroji announced this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Tambuwal.

He said that all the deceased persons were aged between 27 and 30 years.

Mr. Oroji said that three persons, one female and two males died on October 14, out of nine infected.

”Similarly, a male and female died on October 19 due to the epidemic, out of the remaining infected persons,” he said.

He said that 11 infected persons were hospitalised at the Barkeji community dispensary on Sunday.

According to him, four of the affected persons have been discharged on Monday, while the remaining seven on admission at the health centre are still receiving treatment.

He said that adequate drugs and medicament had been supplied to the dispensary by the local government.

”We thank God that the situation is under control and we are even expecting to discharge the remaining infected persons either today or tomorrow,” he added.

He said that the local government had embarked on massive public enlightenment campaign to educate the people on the need to maintain good sanitary environment.

”The campaign is to sensitise the people to the need to keep their environment clean, drink clean water and also ensure personal hygiene.

”We have reported the incident to the state Ministry of Health and it had assisted the community with additional drugs,” he said.

(NAN)

Cholera Kills 96 In Zamfara

By: Abba Abubakar Kabara on October 10, 2013 – 5:09am

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About 96 people mostly children were allegedly killed in two weeks by cholera outbreak in Zamfara State, while over 500 more victims are currently said to be receiving the attention of Medicine Sans Frontiers (MSF).

Though the permanent secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr Umar Lawal, has confirmed the epidemic outbreak, he however declined to confirm the number of those killed so far.

LEADERSHIP gathered that the incident resulted from the consumption of polluted water. Water is scarce especially in the state capital Gusau.

A source revealed that Maradun, Anka, Bungudu and Gusau local government areas were seriously affected with the highest record of death toll following water scarcity that allegedly compelled the local communities to resort to the use of ponds as major sources of water.

MSF was invited to Shagari Hospital in Gusau, where the construction of temporary camps for the treatment of victims is currently ongoing, to pay urgent medical attention to over 70 affected persons.

Though journalists were denied access to the temporary treatment camps, a woman who was in-charge of MSF said there had been a directive from a certain quarter not to release any piece of information pertaining to the level of disaster.

Another source from Maradun and Bungudu local government areas contended that the death toll had risen to 11 and 17 respectively, adding that the situation is growing worse as more victims were getting infected.

The state commissioner of health, Alhaji Kabiru Janyau, who confirmed the incident on phone, also declined to mention the officially recorded cases of deaths from the epidemic. He said the outbreak was actually caused by the consumption of contaminated water by the affected communities.

Kabir said his ministry had already dispatched teams of medical officers to all the volatile areas to ensure that the situation was brought under control.

– See more at: http://leadership.ng/news/101013/cholera-kills-96-zamfara#sthash.ivbINfKE.dpuf

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One response to “October: the Cholera Month in Nigeria; Cholera Kills 96 In Zamfara and several in six other states

  1. The prevalence of Cholera in Nigeria dates back to time immemorial and its incidence continue to defy all possible governmental interventions. when cholera epidemic occur, our government (at all levels) implement an emergency approach based on their knowledge and experiences, targeting safe water provision, disinfection of drinking water sources around the location and catchment areas, usually with water guard and chlorine (which can also lead to formation of chloramine, a carcinogen depending on the organic content of the water being chlorinated).
    To worsen the situation is the fact that there is poor documentation and clouding the incidences by Ministries and government partners due to:
    (1) poor formal documentation systems that captures information from our health system
    (2) tendency to shield the magnitude of the problem which is interpreted as failure of the health system (and that is what it truly represents) and,
    (3) multiplicity of treatment options since many people so affected could not afford the hospital bills demanded by formal health system, thereby increasing the mortality rate.
    There are many interventions that should be implemented together to stem the situation, within the concept of various socio-cultural determinants, including the following
    (1) safe water supply (quality)
    (2) access to safe water in adequate quantity
    (3) safe water chain
    (4) household treatment and safe water storage
    (5) hygiene promotion through all information dissemination sources;

    all included in “water safety plan (WSP)” which is desired for all safe water sources in nooks and crannies of LGAs, State and Country as a whole. WSP is an 11 step system that starts with assembling a WSP team, to system assessment, risk analysis and categorisation, mitigation of risks, monitoring and feedback, on a continuous system.

    How I wish the epidemiology of the various incidences of Cholera could be scientifically investigated and mapped, as it manifests in various locations in Nigeria and outcome disseminated, and resolutions implemented to reduce the severity of future occurrences. God Bless Nigeria and may the death of the departed not be in vain by a concerted national efforts to do the needful, as a country.

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