CHOLERA: THE UNATTENDED EFFECTS OF A SILENT KILLER
Already notorious for its growing death rate at 816 lives from January 2021 to date, Cholera has become a public health concern permeating among the young and elderly.
Between January and August 1, 2021, a total of 31,425 suspected cases have been reported, Nigeria Centre for Disease and Control (NCDC) stated.
What makes it a silent killer is that though preventable and treatable; however, most affected people opt for self-medication instead of immediate access to health care facilities. Symptoms of cholera include sudden onset of profuse watery diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and weakness.
According to a statement signed by the Director-General of the agency, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu during the week, the NCDC calls for an urgent need to strengthen Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WaSH), facilities nationwide.
He reiterated that poor access to clean water, open defecation, poor sanitation, and hygiene continue to exacerbate the outbreak across states in Nigeria.
States affected so far include Benue, Delta, Zamfara, Gombe, Bayelsa, Kogi, Sokoto, Bauchi, Kano, Kaduna, Plateau, Kebbi, Cross River, Niger, Nasarawa, Jigawa, Yobe, Kwara, Enugu, Adamawa, Katsina, Borno, and FCT.
As poor sanitation, blocked drainage channels, and wrong disposal of refuse practices, such as open defecation which endangers the safety of water used for drinking and personal use, continue to fuel the spread, experts warn that curbing the outbreak may take longer than envisaged. This is due to the fact that none of the medical interventions would solve the underlying issues leading to cholera outbreaks as the disease remained a waterborne disease, with a high risk of transmission.
Hence, the need to heed that without substantial action to provide clean water, sanitation, and hygiene, the risk of cholera cases and deaths could cause hundreds of additional deaths in the nearest future within the country.