Rainy season: FG wants states to step up cholera prevention plans

The Federal Government, on Tuesday called on states to implement their different Emergency Preparedness and Response plans towards forestalling possible cholera outbreaks in the country.

This was the thrust of the monthly meeting of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Emergency Working Group in Abuja.

The Chairman of the Group, Mrs Elizabeth Ugoh, and the Director, Water Quality Control and Sanitation Department, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, said cholera preparedness was a better option than response.

Ugoh, who was represented by Mr Ibiyemi Olu-Daniels, noted the need for states to coordinate themselves, by taking ownership of their challenges, and not relying solely on development partners and the Federal Government.

According to her, only northeast states are making huge progress in implementing the developed emergency response and preparedness plan for cholera.

The chairman expressed worry over continued cases of cholera outbreaks in Cross River and Ebonyi states, saying the more than 60 deaths from the disease in February, was unacceptable.

She said the ministry would continue to support states through advocacy and coordination, urging them to take responsibility on preparedness and response plans.

“WASH plays a crucial role in preventing the spread of diseases, reducing poverty and improving the quality of life for all.

“However, WASH is still a significant challenge in many parts of Nigeria, particularly in emergency settings.

“I want to remind us all of the urgent need to prioritise WASH in emergency response, this is particularly crucial in the context of the ongoing cholera outbreak spree, which has highlighted the critical role of WASH in preventing the spread of infectious diseases.”

Dr Jane Bevan, UNICEF Chief of WASH, said Nigeria, must do more to prioritise access to water and sanitation, saying as the rains set in, the country was still not out of emergency situations.

Bevan commended Nigeria’s efforts in responding to cholera, saying there was need for prepositioning of hygiene items as the 2023 flood forecast showed that it may be severe.

“Nigeria is not out of the woods yet when it comes to cholera cases, we must do more to address possible occurrences of any emergency.”

Ms Jessica Akinrogbe, the Senior Emergency Response Officer, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), said data from Epidemiology Week 9, showed 26 deaths from more than 926 suspected cholera cases in 2023.

Akinrogbe listed the 11 affected states as; Abia, Bayelsa, Benue, Cross River, Ebony, Kano, Katsina, Niger, Ondo, Osun, Sokoto and Zamfara.

She stressed the need for coordination of all efforts of interventions, so as to curb cholera deaths. (NAN)

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