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Cholera Outbreak: 22 States Get Kits As Lagos Cases Hit 500

24 June

Reported by Ayooluwa Afolabi

Dr Oyebanji Filani, the Chairman of the Forum of Health Commissioners of Nigeria, has said that 22 states have received test kits and other materials from the Federal Government following the recent cholera outbreak in some parts of the country.

This was as Lagos State recorded 500 suspected cholera cases as the government scrambled to contain its spread.

Nigeria is experiencing a significant cholera outbreak, with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention reporting over 1,528 suspected cases in 31 states.

The outbreak has notably affected Lagos, Bayelsa, Zamfara, Abia, Cross River, Bauchi, Delta, Katsina, Imo, and Nasarawa states.

The primary cause has been linked to the consumption of contaminated water and inadequate sanitation, exacerbated by the onset of the rainy season, which often leads to increased cholera cases due to flooding and compromised water sources.

According to THE PUNCH, Speaking on the disease outbreak on Sunday, Oyebanji, who said no state had received the cholera vaccine, explained that because the immunity period for cholera vaccine is short, the primary focus had been on prevention and quick treatment for those who contracted the disease.

He said, “No state, as of today, has received cholera vaccine. The most important thing is prevention. And for those who have cholera to be very quick with the treatment.

“Cholera vaccines are not easily available because, unlike others, the immunity period for cholera vaccine is a bit short. You may see a pile sent to countries in emergency, but no state as of today for this current one has received any vaccine.’’

“States are working with our counterpart at the federal (level), we are not focusing on the vaccines, we are focusing on improving health promotion, prevention, water hygiene, and sanitation.

“And for those who have it, providing the necessary treatment so that they can come out of it as quickly as possible because the immunity period of cholera vaccines is short. People are focused more on minimizing impacts rather than trying to get the vaccine,” he stated.

When asked about the assistance the Federal Government had rendered to states, Filani, who is the Commissioner for Health and Human Services in Ekiti State, said “The Federal Government has provided consumables, test kits, and other materials, including PPEs (Personal Protection Equipment). Not all states, but several states have received the materials.’’

He added, “Bayelsa, Zamfara, Abia, Cross River, Bauchi, Delta, Katsina, Imo, Nasarawa, Ondo, Osun, Niger, Kano, Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Benue, Kwara, Anambra, Sokoto, Plateau, Ebonyi and Ekiti have all received test kits, consumables and other materials from the FG.

“This was as of two weeks ago. But it is possible that others have also received it by now. We have received materials and they (the Federal Government) said they would continue to do that (send the kits).”

In Lagos, suspected cases of cholera have risen to about 500, according to the Special Adviser to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Health, Dr Kemi Ogunyemi.

In an interview with THE PUNCH newspapers correspondent on Sunday, Ogunyemi, however, stressed that the trend was declining.

“We are having a meeting tonight (Sunday) to find out what happened over the weekend, but the numbers have gone up a little bit, and we are talking of about one here and one there and then the accumulation, but cumulatively, it’s the 500 compared to what it was, but they are not all confirmed cases. But looking at the trend in terms of new cases, it’s going down, it’s not going up,’’ she claimed.

She attributed the declining trend to “massive sensitization” being conducted by the government.

Ogunyemi also said screening was still ongoing at the state health centers, noting that the state was awaiting the vaccine from the Federal Government through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

Meanwhile, Lagos Island, Kosofe, and Lagos Mainland local government areas have recorded the highest number of persons who reported to the hospitals on noticing cholera symptoms.

Specifically, of the roughly 500 suspected cases recorded in Lagos, according to the report by the state government, Lagos Island LGA had the highest number with over 100 cases.

This was revealed in an infographic shared by the state Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi, on X.

Abayomi announced on Saturday that as of June 20, 2024, an additional six suspected cholera cases were reported which pushed the number of suspected cases to 423.

He added that 24 deaths and 35 confirmed infections had been recorded across 20 LGAs.

Aside from the three LGAs, cases have been reported in Eti-Osa, Agege, Badagry, Ikeja, Mushin, Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Epe, Ikorodu, Ojo, and Alimosho LGAs.

Others are Somolu, Oshodi, Surulere, Ifako Ijaiye, Apapa, Amuwo and Ibeju Lekki.

As the nation battles to curb the spread of the disease, the Executive Director / Chief Executive Officer of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Muyi Aina, said that the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof Muhammad Pate, had requested the cholera vaccine from the International Coordinating Group on Vaccine Provision and they hope to get an update regarding the supply this week.
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