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article imageNigeria cholera outbreak infects over 300 and kills 7 people

By Karen Graham     Jul 25, 2014 in Health
A cholera outbreak that started over the past weekend in Northwest Kano state has spread to 11 local councils, according to Bello Abubakar of the state ministry of health. The health Minister has stressed the need for people to use clean water only.
The cholera outbreak is nothing new in Nigeria, a country that has endured massive outbreaks in the past, and Kano state seems to be impacted more than any area of the country. The Health Minister assured reporters from the Guardian that only 116 people were infected on Monday, July 21, and that the ministry was working to curb any further spread of the disease.
The minister also said the outbreak was due to the method of consumption of food and water during Ramadan. but he pointed out only seven people had been admitted to hospitals. This official report by a government servant goes against what Isma Medicare Initiative (IMI), a non-governmental agency has reported. They say more than 701 people have been infected with Cholera in the past week, with 20 severe cases in Kafin Dalawa alone. IMI also claims 16 people have died from the disease.
Nigeria s daunting sanitation problems need to be addressed before diseases can be brought under con...
Nigeria's daunting sanitation problems need to be addressed before diseases can be brought under control.
Shomaila Yousaf
Cholera is a highly infectious intestinal disease that is transmitted by water contaminated by human feces. Those infected can have acute and debilitating diarrhea, leading to dehydration and even death. Surajo Alkassim of IMI told AFP, “The outbreak is becoming a pandemic in the area because patients are trooping from neighbouring villages, which is putting a strain on our team and medical supplies"
The lack of substantial, accurate information by the official spokesperson for the Nigerian government goes against the facts and figures reported by other agencies. The World Health Organization's (WHO) latest updated profile titled: CHOLERA COUNTRY PROFILE: NIGERIA, reported that with the country's explosive population growth, there are still poor health and health care conditions that have not been addressed.
Graph showing number of outbreaks and deaths by year for Nigeria up through 2011.
Graph showing number of outbreaks and deaths by year for Nigeria up through 2011.
Adding to this, less than 50 percent of the population has access to clean potable water or adequate sanitation facilities. Not only does Nigeria suffer from periodic cholera outbreaks, but also polio, malaria and sleeping sickness outbreaks. In most cases, these diseases are water-related, and this is a serious problem that has been recently addressed by UNICEF.
Saaondo Anom, a specialist with UNICEF's Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), spoke at a workshop in Enugu recently. He stated that over 113 million Nigerians defecate in the open because there are not adequate sanitation facilities. He told those at the workshop this practice constitutes a health hazard to all Nigerians.
Anom pulled no punches, telling the group the problem was further aggravated by the fact that 63 million Nigerians don't have access to "improved sanitation," either. He explained that just one gram of feces has over 10 million viruses, that if released into the environment could be lethal, and are today now responsible for the illnesses "presently bedeviling various communities."
Anom said,"Do you know that a teaspoon of shit, or in other words, a lethal dose, just one gramme of human faeces can contain more than 10 million viruses, one million parasites, 1000 parasite cysts and 1000 parasite eyes". According to Anom, it is hard to imagine the number of infected people defecating in the open, spreading disease all around.
More about Nigeria, Cholera, Kano, poor hygiene, Environmental Health
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