Health Minister, Dr Enahire Osagie
Nigeria suffers worst cholera outbreak in over 10 years
The outbreak of cholera in Nigeria this year is the worst in over a decade, according to the Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières), an international humanitarian medical non-governmental organisation (NGO).
The organisation which disclosed this in its current publication, said nearly 94,000 suspected cases of cholera have been recorded in Nigeria between January and October 2021, adding that it was working with the Federal Ministry of Health to try to control the epidemic.
Data compiled by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) shows that suspected infections have been recorded in 32 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) since the beginning of the year.
It said at least 3,293 deaths have been recorded, representing a 3.5% case fatality ratio.
Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal infection, and is typically contracted from food or water contaminated with the bacterium vibrio cholerae.
Bauchi has recorded the highest number of cases (19,452) this year, followed by Kano (12,116), Zamfara (11,100), and Jigawa (10,673).
Jigawa has recorded the highest number of deaths (470), followed by Sokoto (410), Kano (368), and Bauchi (323).
Other states that have recorded suspected cholera cases include Katsina, Kebbi, Yobe, Niger, Kaduna, Borno, Plateau, Gombe, Nasarawa, Adamawa, Benue, Delta, Bayelsa, Oyo, Kwara, Ebonyi, Kogi, Enugu, Taraba, Lagos, Abia, Cross River, Ogun, Osun, Ondo, and Ekiti.
Rivers is the only state with suspected cases (46) without any reported deaths.
Nigeria’s response to the outbreak is led by the NCDC in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), and other partners.
The response includes the promotion of hygiene, provision of safe water, water chlorination, household disinfection, and sensitisation on dangers of open defecation in high-risk communities, the report said.
Some of the challenges limiting the government’s response include inadequate vaccines, and inadequate health facility infrastructure and cholera commodities for management of patients in all affected communities.
Difficulty in accessing some communities due to security concerns, and lack of potable drinking water in rural areas and urban slums have also been significant roadblocks to containing the outbreak.