Ten States in Nigeria Account for 90% of Cholera Outbreak: How to Protect Your Family

Assumpta Udochukwu
By Assumpta Udochukwu 5 Min Read

On June 9, 2024, the Lagos State Government declared a cholera outbreak, marking a critical moment for public health in Nigeria. As of June 12, the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) reported 324 suspected cases, tragically resulting in 15 deaths and 40 recoveries.

This outbreak isn’t confined to Lagos alone; neighboring Oyo and Ogun States have reported three suspected cases each. The alarming situation highlights the need for immediate and coordinated efforts to prevent further spread.

Image source: UNICEF

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has recorded 1,141 suspected cholera cases across 30 states since the beginning of the year. Most of these cases—90%—are concentrated in the South, with Bayelsa, Lagos, Abia, Cross River, Delta, and Imo states being the most affected. Northern states like Katsina, Nasarawa, and Zamfara are also impacted. This widespread distribution underscores the necessity for nationwide vigilance and intervention.

Image source: TVC

The Lagos State Government, demonstrating commendable responsiveness, has activated Rapid Response Teams comprising health, Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH), and risk communication experts at the Local Government Area (LGA) level. These teams are crucial for the immediate containment of the outbreak and for implementing preventative measures.

In anticipation of such an outbreak, cholera kits were pre-positioned across 24 health facilities in 20 LGAs by the end of May. This foresight has allowed for a quicker response, potentially saving many lives.

Cholera is a preventable and treatable disease, yet it remains a significant threat due to issues like poor sanitation, limited access to clean water, and inadequate public health infrastructure. The rapid response and ongoing efforts by the Lagos State Government, NCDC, and international organizations like UNICEF are pivotal in managing this outbreak.

Preventing cholera for your family involves a combination of good hygiene practices, safe food and water consumption, and awareness. Here are key steps you can take to protect your family from cholera:

1. Ensure Safe Drinking Water

  • Boil Water: Always boil water before drinking or using it for cooking. Boiling water for at least one minute kills most pathogens.
  • Use Water Purification Tablets: If boiling is impossible, use water purification tablets or chlorine bleach.
  • Store Water Safely: Keep water in clean, covered containers to prevent contamination.

2. Practice Good Hygiene

  • Handwashing: Wash hands frequently with soap and clean running water, especially after using the toilet and before handling food.
  • Use Hand Sanitizers: If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Safe Disposal of Waste: Use proper toilets and dispose of waste properly. Ensure restrooms are located away from water sources.

3. Safe Food Practices

  • Cook Food Thoroughly: Ensure all food is cooked thoroughly, especially seafood.
  • Eat Hot Food: Consume food while it is still hot and avoid street food if its safety is uncertain.
  • Wash Fruits and Vegetables: Wash fruits and vegetables with safe water, and peel them if possible.

4. Maintain Clean Living Conditions

  • Clean Kitchen and Utensils: Keep the kitchen area and all cooking utensils clean.
  • Disinfect Surfaces: Regularly disinfect surfaces that come into contact with food.

5. Vaccination

  • Oral Cholera Vaccine: If available, consider getting the oral cholera vaccine, especially if you live in or travel to areas with known cholera outbreaks.

6. Be Informed and Prepared

  • Stay Updated: Keep informed about cholera outbreaks in your area through reliable sources such as the local health department or international health organizations.
  • Recognize Symptoms: Be aware of the symptoms of cholera, such as severe diarrhea and vomiting, and seek immediate medical attention if they occur.

7. Community Involvement

  • Community Cleanliness: Participate in community efforts to improve sanitation and water quality.
  • Educational Campaigns: Support and engage in local educational campaigns about cholera prevention.

By implementing these measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of cholera for your family. Public health and safety begin with informed and proactive steps at home.

However, continued support and vigilance are required. Public awareness campaigns, improved sanitation practices, and access to clean water are critical components in preventing future outbreaks. The collective effort of government bodies, international organizations, and the public can turn the tide against this deadly disease.

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Assumpta Udochukwu
Posted by Assumpta Udochukwu
Assumpta is a Professional Accountant, Brand Strategist, Writer and Digital Data Storyteller with extensive experience in Finance, Digital Marketing and Business Administration. She is the Chief Analyst and Editor at Trendswatch.co, she is passionate about telling data stories in an entertaining and engaging manner.

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