What you should know about recent cholera outbreak in Nigeria

Cholera: Surveillance shifts to schools

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As more states of the federation continue to record fresh cases of the outbreak of cholera, some state governors have shifted surveillance to public and private schools including markets across their states in their bid to stem the tide of the disease.

With fears already gripping many parents over their children’s safety in schools following the rapid increase in the number of cases being recorded, have been taking proactive steps in containing the disease.

Sunday Tribune gathered that some governors have started rolling out strict guidelines that will ensure that public schools adhere to hygiene practices in order to prevent the disease that has left more than 30 people dead with fresh cases totalling about 450 already confirmed in Lagos State.

In Oyo State, the state government has rolled out some guidelines to ensure that food handlers in public schools follow strict hygiene practices to prevent contamination.

The Executive Chairman, Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Dr Nureni Adeniran, made this known in the instructions released in Ibadan, the state capital, on Saturday.

He advised headteachers to implement the measures to prevent cholera outbreaks in public basic schools in the state.

The SUBEB boss said that the Oyo State government, through the board, “is on top of its game to ensure that public basic schools are taking steps to ensure the health and safety of students.”

Adeniran urged parents, guardians as well as school authorities to adhere to safety guidelines.

He said the board would work with education secretaries, teachers and other stakeholders to ensure strict compliance.

The advisory emphasised the importance of hand hygiene, recommending that children carry hand sanitisers and frequently wash their hands with soap and water, especially before meals and after using the restroom.

Adeniran also recommended that schools keep Oral Rehydration Salt (ORS) available in their clinics to manage dehydration cases promptly.

He said that schools should notify the state emergency hotline immediately, in case of any health emergency or suspected cholera cases.

Adeniran said other preventive measures including comprehensive health talks on cholera prevention among learners and staff would be conducted regularly as well as ensuring safe drinking practices.


Abuja residents take preventive measures

Some residents of Federal Capital Territory (FCT) also revealed that they are taking measures to avoid contracting cholera which is spreading in different parts of the country.

The residents, who spoke in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday, said that proper hygiene was now paramount in their everyday life.

Media reports indicate that deaths from cholera outbreak in Lagos State have risen to 24 with 35 confirmed cases.

There are also 417 suspected cases in 20 local government areas of the state.

The FCT residents told NAN that they were paying extra attention to the sources of food they consume and taking extra measures to keep their environment clean.

Miss Kanayo Gift said she improved her cleanliness, adding that “I know that cholera is caused by poor sanitation practices, so I ensure that I keep my surroundings clean.

“I dispose of my garbage properly, and most importantly, I always make sure I wash my hands regularly.

According to her, she applies hand sanitizer on her hands when she is not at home and unable to wash them.

Mrs Gladys Ohiwere, Assistant Head Teacher, Leadway Schools, said that they had put up safety guidelines for students to protect them from contracting cholera and other communicable diseases.

“We made sure there is tap water flowing around the school environment with soap for washing their hands.

“We also provided sanitizers to use on their hands properly. Whenever a pupil is going to the toilet, we ensure a teacher is there to assist them.

“This is to ensure that they use the toilet properly and also make sure that they wash their hands afterwards.”

Similarly, Mrs Loveth Ezeurike, a teacher at Ariella Ville Academy, said that the school management made sure its environment is clean at all times.

“The classrooms are thoroughly cleaned each day. This includes the student desks and floors. Students are encouraged to always wash their hands after their break time and before entering their respective classrooms,” she said.

She added that hand sanitisers have also been provided for every classroom.

Malam Bala Musa, a fruit vendor, said usually he washed his fruits once but with the outbreak, he washes them twice with clean water before selling.

“There are some people who are not taking the outbreak of this disease seriously. As for me I will continue to keep my environment clean and maintain hygiene at all times,” he said.


Kano urges residents to stop drinking rain water

The Kano State government in its efforts to prevent people from contracting the disease has advised residents against drinking rain water for now

In a statement signed on Saturday by the Head of the Public Relations Unit, Ministry of Health, Ibrahim Abdullahi, the state government noted that the advice was necessary because usually, the rainy season comes up with cholera complications which some states in the country have already fallen victim to.

“Hence, it is necessary to warn and remind the people that prevention is better than cure. People should always examine what they take, most importantly vegetables, fruits and drinking water. People need to be wary in this regard to protect themselves from contaminated food or water.

“It is important for people to understand that the rain water at the beginning of the season is unclean. If one must use it, it must then be purified using water treatment substances, including boiling and filtering.

“This will help greatly to safeguard people against cholera.”

The  Commissioner of Health, Dr. Abubakar Yusuf, also urged people to always wash vegetables and fruits thoroughly before consumption because they are mostly purchased from the markets with little cleanliness.

He urged people to report to the nearest health facility as soon as possible whenever they fall ill.


Don’t panic, adopt all preventive measures, Ebonyi tells residents

Ebonyi State government has also charged residents of the state to adopt all the preventive measures to avoid outbreak.

Commissioner for Health in the state Dr. Moses Ekuma, gave the charge on Saturday in a telephone interview with Sunday Tribune following the recent outbreak of the disease in some parts of the country.

According to the commissioner, Ebonyi has not recorded any cases, but urged the people to keep their environments clean.

“Actually, it has been confirmed that there is an outbreak of cholera in some parts of the country but in Ebonyi, we only have suspected cases that have not been confirmed.

“We are already preparing to curtail the disease if eventually there is an outbreak in the state. A technical team has been set up for that. We have trained our health workers, we have got some medical drugs and commodities in preparation for that,» the commissioner said.

ALSO READ: Cholera: Stop drinking rainwater, Kano govt warns residents

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