Within the last month, a least 12 individuals in Ogun State have succumbed to the outbreak of cholera.
Africa Today News, New York, gathered that on September 17, the state government alerted residents of the State about the outbreak of the disease in Ijebu North local government area, which eventually spread to the council areas of Abeokuta North and Abeokuta South.
Verifying the cholera outbreak, Dr. Tomi Coker, the State Commissioner for Health, stated that there have been 236 recorded cases and 12 fatalities.
While addressing a stakeholders’ engagement in Abeokuta, Coker outlined the details of the cholera outbreak, emphasizing that the situation is exacerbated by widespread open defecation, insufficient waste management, and contaminated water sources.
She said, ‘unfortunately, we have a report of 246 cases and there has been at least about 12 deaths, which brings us to fatality rate of 44.6 percent.’
‘This is slightly high for a state like ours because we are educated. And from what we found out that’s actually promoting the cholera outbreak is the fact that there’s high level of open defecation in the State.’
‘It started in Ijebu North Local Government where we have 217 cases, but now we have more reports. We have some from Abeokuta North last week. We have two reports from Abeokuta South.’
In an effort to contain the outbreak, Coker stated that the government has initiated the chlorination of wells in Ijebu North, the local government most severely affected by the disease.
She highlighted that the Ministry of Health is collaborating with the Ministry of Environment and other pertinent Ministries, Departments, and Agencies to curb the transmission of the disease.
‘It is unfortunate that our people still engage in open defecation, unaware that fecal materials enter shallow wells, which many of them use as water sources. For instance, in Ijebu-North Local Government, we found 52 shallow wells and microbiological testing revealed that 75 percent of these wells had evidence of fecal contamination with coliform bacteria.’
‘We will work with our colleagues in the Environment Ministry to ensure sanitation, promote the use of appropriate sanitary facilities in homes, and construct sanitary wells. These wells should be well-built and less likely to be contaminated by fecal material, especially during the period of incessant rainfall and flooding, which washes fecal material into our water sources’, she explained.
Stressing the importance of a multi-sectoral approach in eradicating cholera, she mentioned that the State Public Health Department officials are educating residents on crucial hygiene practices to thwart the disease.
Coker recommended that residents of the State avoid open defecation, install affordable toilets and sanitary wells in their homes, and warned that the government could seal houses without toilets in the interest of public health.