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Cholera Outbreak: 22 States Get Kits As Lagos Cases Hit 500

Cholera Outbreak: 22 States Get Kits As Lagos Cases Hit 500

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Summary : The Chairman of the Forum of Health Commissioners of Nigeria, Dr Oyebanji Filani, has said that 22 states have received test kits and other materials from the Federal Government following the recent cholera outbreak in some parts of the country. This was as Lagos State recorded 500 suspected cholera cases as the government scrambled to contain its spread. Nigeria is experiencing a significant cholera outbreak, with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention reporting over 1,528 suspected cases in 31 states. The outbreak has notably affected Lagos, Bayelsa, Zamfara, Abia, Cross River, Bauchi, Delta, Katsina, Imo, and Nasarawa states. The primary cause has been linked to the consumption of contaminated water and inadequate sanitation, exacerbated by the onset of the rainy season, which often leads to increased cholera cases due to flooding and compromised water sources. Speaking on the disease outbreak on Sunday, Oyebanji, who said no state had received the cholera vaccine, explained that because the immunity period for cholera vaccine is short, the primary focus had been on prevention and quick treatment for those who contracted the disease. He said, “No state, as of today, has received cholera vaccine. The most important thing is prevention. And for those who have cholera to be very quick with the treatment. “Cholera vaccines are not easily available because, unlike others, the immunity period for cholera vaccine is a bit short. You may see a pile sent to countries in emergency, but no state as of today for this current one has received any vaccine.’’ “States are working with our counterpart at the federal (level), we are not focusing on the vaccines, we are focusing on improving health promotion, prevention, water hygiene and sanitation. “And for those who have it, providing the necessary treatment so that they can come out of it as quickly as possible because the immunity period of cholera vaccines is short. People are focused more on minimising impacts rather than trying to get the vaccine,” he stated. When asked about the assistance the Federal Government had rendered to states, Filani, who is the Commissioner for Health and Human Services in Ekiti State, said “The Federal Government has provided consumables, test kits and other materials, including PPEs (Personal Protection Equipment). Not all states, but several states have received the materials.’’ He added, “Bayelsa, Zamfara, Abia, Cross River, Bauchi, Delta, Katsina, Imo, Nasarawa, Ondo, Osun, Niger, Kano, Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Benue, Kwara, Anambra, Sokoto, Plateau, Ebonyi and Ekiti have all received test kits, consumables and other materials from the FG. “This was as of two weeks ago. But it is possible that others have also received it by now. We have received materials and they (the Federal Government) said they would continue to do that (send the kits).” Lagos cases rise In Lagos, suspected cases of cholera have risen to about 500, according to the Special Adviser to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Health, Dr Kemi Ogunyemi. In an interview with our correspondent on Sunday, Ogunyemi, however, stressed that the trend was declining. “We are having a meeting tonight (Sunday) to find out what happened over the weekend, but the numbers have gone up a little bit, and we are talking of about one here and one there and then the accumulation, but cumulatively, it’s the 500 compared to what it was, but they are not all confirmed cases. But looking at the trend in terms of new cases, it’s going down, it’s not going up,’’ she claimed. She attributed the declining trend to “massive sensitisation” being conducted by the government. “Environmental experts are going out, teaching people how to boil water, wash hands, to not defecate outside, and all that,” she said. Ogunyemi also said screening was still ongoing at the state health centres, noting that the state was awaiting the vaccine from the Federal Government through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control. She said, “We don’t make a vaccine in Lagos. They give it to us. The NCDC does (orders) for the whole nation not just for Lagos. So they’ve ordered the vaccine. Once we get the vaccine, then people are free to come and get it.” When asked when the vaccine would arrive in Lagos, she said, “I have no idea. I did not order it. We’ve requested it (the vaccine). Once we get it, people will be told. I don’t know when. But a vaccine does not work alone, a vaccine has to work with people being deliberate in their sanitation and hygiene.” Meanwhile, Lagos Island, Kosofe and Lagos Mainland local government areas have recorded the highest number of persons who reported to the hospitals on noticing cholera symptoms. Specifically, of the roughly 500 suspected cases recorded in Lagos, according to the report by the state government, Lagos Island LGA had the highest number with over 100 cases. This was revealed in an infographic shared by the state Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi, on X. Abayomi announced on Saturday that as of June 20, 2024, an additional six suspected cholera cases were reported which pushed the number of suspected cases to 423. He added that 24 deaths and 35 confirmed infections had been recorded across 20 LGAs. Aside from the three LGAs, cases have been reported in Eti-Osa, Agege, Badagry, Ikeja, Mushin, Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Epe, Ikorodu, Ojo, and Alimosho LGAs. Others are Somolu, Oshodi, Surulere, Ifako Ijaiye, Apapa, Amuwo and Ibeju Lekki. As the nation battles to curb the spread of the disease, the Executive Director / Chief Executive Officer of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Muyi Aina, said that the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof Muhammad Pate, had requested the cholera vaccine from the International Coordinating Group on Vaccine Provision and they hope to get an update regarding the supply this week. Emergency centre Speaking in an interview with one of our correspondents on Sunday, Aina also said the Federal Government would operationalise the Emergency Operation Centre for Cholera today (Monday). “There are several ways that you respond to an outbreak especially one by cholera, and the vaccine is just one of the ways. Tomorrow morning (today), the Federal Government, led by the NCDC will be operationalising the emergency operating centre which will be tracking, doing case management, planning the outbreak response, and all of that. “But then, case management is a lot of identifying and treating cases very early with the appropriate treatment, including oral hydration therapy, appropriate antibiotics, and the nutrition that is needed. So, there is a lot that we are doing as a government,’’ he explained. ‘Cholera vaccine scarce’ Speaking further on the nation’s efforts to get vaccines, the NPHCDA boss noted that ‘’The vaccination itself as a response to the outbreak is also one of the options, but because we didn’t have a stockpile of a cholera vaccine; it’s very scarce now so the minister has applied to the ICG to give us the vaccine; they didn’t have any at the time so they are sourcing that they can deploy to Nigeria right now. “While I cannot give you the specific date when it will arrive, we hope to get an update from them this week on when they will get it to us, they have not given us a specific date. Aina clarified that the vaccine cannot be produced locally in a short time because it takes some years to build up the capacity, get the technology transfer, and have people who can do it. “In addition to that, we are also looking outside of the ICG, where we can do emergency procurement of a few so that we can start to identify with the Lagos state government that is most affected and some of the highest risk locations and vaccinate them. “It is exactly in situations like this that the government is pushing very hard towards local production of medicines, and vaccine is one of them. It’s part of the broader agenda, it’s not what will solve the immediate outbreak that we have,” he said. On its part, the Federal Ministry of Environment has said sustainable human and environmental interaction is critical to cholera prevention and control. It said it is actively involved through the Department of Pollution Control and Environmental Health and the Environmental Health Officers Registration Council of Nigeria in activities to break the further transmission of the deadly disease through water and food testing to identify sources of infection, environmental sanitation campaigns, and household water chlorination. The ministry made this known in a statement signed by its Minister of State, Dr Iziaq Salako, on Sunday. “Arrangements are also being made to support states most affected by the outbreak with chlorine solution/tablets, water and food testing resources, information, education and communication materials, and technical advisory,” it noted. It urged all commissioners of the environment and local government chairmen to support environmental health officers across the country to step up their sanitation and hygiene activities through enhanced community-led sanitation to break further transmission and spread of the disease. “We also urge the scale-up of awareness campaigns focusing especially on places where prepared food and drinks are sold like markets, garages, schools, restaurants, stadia, religious, and sporting events. “In addition, sub-national governments are urged to strengthen environmental health surveillance in eating premises like “mama put”, cafeterias, restaurants, and mobile food vendors. We assure the general public that the Federal Ministry of Environment remains committed to ensuring a clean and healthy environment for all Nigerians. This is the only way we can prevent and curtail the incidence of Cholera outbreaks and other sanitation-related diseases,” the ministry stressed. As part of its contribution to the national response to cholera, the Nigerian Medical Association said it has deployed its members across the states to help contain the outbreak in the country. The President of the NMA, Prof Bala Audu, informed The PUNCH on Sunday that over 50,000 doctors in the country were involved in the pandemic response. Speaking on the outbreak, Audu noted, “We have our members in every state of the country, and all our members are active in all the states. As you know, all Nigerian doctors are our members, and we have over 50,000 members distributed across all states in the federation.’’ The NMA president admonished Nigerians to drink potable water and practice robust personal hygiene. He noted, “An outbreak of cholera is an issue of sanitation and hygiene, it has to do with either drinking contaminated water or contaminated food. So, there is a lot all levels of government can do to curb the spread, and there’s a lot individuals can do. “The most important single part is ensuring that people have potable drinking water, and they have functional toilets. This means that people don’t get sick in open places without contamination. Individuals must ensure that they drink potable water, practice hand-washing, and personal and environmental hygiene.” On his part, the President of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors, Dr Dele Abdullahi, said the association is working to encourage doctors to heighten their suspicion when attending to patients. “We are hoping to make it a routine discussion, regardless of what the patient is bringing to every clinic visit; they should talk to them about cholera. We will tell them that once they see the patient and you have an index of suspicion, they have to make noise about it,” he explained. Asked if the government is doing enough to address the situation, he replied, “No, they are not. We’ve been hearing about the outbreak for months, how many jingles or commercials have you heard about it? What stops them from making advertisements about the outbreak and the need for people to take precautions?’’ “We need to return to the practices of the olden days where we had environmental officers. There are practices that we had in the past that helped us cope with things like this that the government has neglected; such as doctors doing inspections of facilities, and the general check on the environment,” Abdullahi noted. Meanwhile, the Ogun state Commissioner for Health, Dr Tomi Coker, has said that the Ministry of Health would provide updates on the cholera situation in the state on Monday. Coker earlier said the state reported 14 cases of cholera and one fatality in the last week. The affected local governments are Ado-Odo/Ota, Abeokuta South and Ijebu North. In an update on the situation in the state, the Osun State Government disclosed that cholera test kits have been distributed to health facilities across the 30 local government areas in the state. ‘Osun cases negative’ This was contained in a statement signed by the Special Adviser to the Osun State Governor on Health Matters, Dr Adekunle Akindele, on Sunday. Akindele stated that there was no confirmed cholera case in the state, describing the report of 11 confirmed cases as inaccurate. Contrary to the claim in the said report, he explained that Osun recorded 13 suspected cases, but all turned out negative after laboratory tests. He assured residents of adequate measures to prevent cholera outbreak, and quick response to suspected cases. The statement partly read, “Osun State government through the Ministry of Health has proactively reactivated and established the Public Health Rapid Response Team and Cholera Technical Working Group respectively, to ensure adequate surveillance and risk communication activities to guarantee the health of the citizens. “Though Osun is yet to record any confirmed case of cholera, adequate preventive measures have been put in place to prevent the occurrence and respond to the outbreak in case we eventually record a case. “Thirteen samples collected so far. All 13 samples were sent to a laboratory, of which 13(100%) were negative, 0 positive and no pending result. Cholera RDT kits have been strategically distributed to some health facilities across the 30 LGAs.” He said the Ministry of Health would continue to intensify public awareness on the prevention of cholera and what to do when symptoms develop. (PUNCH)

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Review Overview

Summary : The Chairman of the Forum of Health Commissioners of Nigeria, Dr Oyebanji Filani, has said that 22 states have received test kits and other materials from the Federal Government following the recent cholera outbreak in some parts of the country. This was as Lagos State recorded 500 suspected cholera cases as the government scrambled to contain its spread. Nigeria is experiencing a significant cholera outbreak, with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention reporting over 1,528 suspected cases in 31 states. The outbreak has notably affected Lagos, Bayelsa, Zamfara, Abia, Cross River, Bauchi, Delta, Katsina, Imo, and Nasarawa states. The primary cause has been linked to the consumption of contaminated water and inadequate sanitation, exacerbated by the onset of the rainy season, which often leads to increased cholera cases due to flooding and compromised water sources. Speaking on the disease outbreak on Sunday, Oyebanji, who said no state had received the cholera vaccine, explained that because the immunity period for cholera vaccine is short, the primary focus had been on prevention and quick treatment for those who contracted the disease. He said, “No state, as of today, has received cholera vaccine. The most important thing is prevention. And for those who have cholera to be very quick with the treatment. “Cholera vaccines are not easily available because, unlike others, the immunity period for cholera vaccine is a bit short. You may see a pile sent to countries in emergency, but no state as of today for this current one has received any vaccine.’’ “States are working with our counterpart at the federal (level), we are not focusing on the vaccines, we are focusing on improving health promotion, prevention, water hygiene and sanitation. “And for those who have it, providing the necessary treatment so that they can come out of it as quickly as possible because the immunity period of cholera vaccines is short. People are focused more on minimising impacts rather than trying to get the vaccine,” he stated. When asked about the assistance the Federal Government had rendered to states, Filani, who is the Commissioner for Health and Human Services in Ekiti State, said “The Federal Government has provided consumables, test kits and other materials, including PPEs (Personal Protection Equipment). Not all states, but several states have received the materials.’’ He added, “Bayelsa, Zamfara, Abia, Cross River, Bauchi, Delta, Katsina, Imo, Nasarawa, Ondo, Osun, Niger, Kano, Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Benue, Kwara, Anambra, Sokoto, Plateau, Ebonyi and Ekiti have all received test kits, consumables and other materials from the FG. “This was as of two weeks ago. But it is possible that others have also received it by now. We have received materials and they (the Federal Government) said they would continue to do that (send the kits).” Lagos cases rise In Lagos, suspected cases of cholera have risen to about 500, according to the Special Adviser to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Health, Dr Kemi Ogunyemi. In an interview with our correspondent on Sunday, Ogunyemi, however, stressed that the trend was declining. “We are having a meeting tonight (Sunday) to find out what happened over the weekend, but the numbers have gone up a little bit, and we are talking of about one here and one there and then the accumulation, but cumulatively, it’s the 500 compared to what it was, but they are not all confirmed cases. But looking at the trend in terms of new cases, it’s going down, it’s not going up,’’ she claimed. She attributed the declining trend to “massive sensitisation” being conducted by the government. “Environmental experts are going out, teaching people how to boil water, wash hands, to not defecate outside, and all that,” she said. Ogunyemi also said screening was still ongoing at the state health centres, noting that the state was awaiting the vaccine from the Federal Government through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control. She said, “We don’t make a vaccine in Lagos. They give it to us. The NCDC does (orders) for the whole nation not just for Lagos. So they’ve ordered the vaccine. Once we get the vaccine, then people are free to come and get it.” When asked when the vaccine would arrive in Lagos, she said, “I have no idea. I did not order it. We’ve requested it (the vaccine). Once we get it, people will be told. I don’t know when. But a vaccine does not work alone, a vaccine has to work with people being deliberate in their sanitation and hygiene.” Meanwhile, Lagos Island, Kosofe and Lagos Mainland local government areas have recorded the highest number of persons who reported to the hospitals on noticing cholera symptoms. Specifically, of the roughly 500 suspected cases recorded in Lagos, according to the report by the state government, Lagos Island LGA had the highest number with over 100 cases. This was revealed in an infographic shared by the state Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi, on X. Abayomi announced on Saturday that as of June 20, 2024, an additional six suspected cholera cases were reported which pushed the number of suspected cases to 423. He added that 24 deaths and 35 confirmed infections had been recorded across 20 LGAs. Aside from the three LGAs, cases have been reported in Eti-Osa, Agege, Badagry, Ikeja, Mushin, Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Epe, Ikorodu, Ojo, and Alimosho LGAs. Others are Somolu, Oshodi, Surulere, Ifako Ijaiye, Apapa, Amuwo and Ibeju Lekki. As the nation battles to curb the spread of the disease, the Executive Director / Chief Executive Officer of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Muyi Aina, said that the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof Muhammad Pate, had requested the cholera vaccine from the International Coordinating Group on Vaccine Provision and they hope to get an update regarding the supply this week. Emergency centre Speaking in an interview with one of our correspondents on Sunday, Aina also said the Federal Government would operationalise the Emergency Operation Centre for Cholera today (Monday). “There are several ways that you respond to an outbreak especially one by cholera, and the vaccine is just one of the ways. Tomorrow morning (today), the Federal Government, led by the NCDC will be operationalising the emergency operating centre which will be tracking, doing case management, planning the outbreak response, and all of that. “But then, case management is a lot of identifying and treating cases very early with the appropriate treatment, including oral hydration therapy, appropriate antibiotics, and the nutrition that is needed. So, there is a lot that we are doing as a government,’’ he explained. ‘Cholera vaccine scarce’ Speaking further on the nation’s efforts to get vaccines, the NPHCDA boss noted that ‘’The vaccination itself as a response to the outbreak is also one of the options, but because we didn’t have a stockpile of a cholera vaccine; it’s very scarce now so the minister has applied to the ICG to give us the vaccine; they didn’t have any at the time so they are sourcing that they can deploy to Nigeria right now. “While I cannot give you the specific date when it will arrive, we hope to get an update from them this week on when they will get it to us, they have not given us a specific date. Aina clarified that the vaccine cannot be produced locally in a short time because it takes some years to build up the capacity, get the technology transfer, and have people who can do it. “In addition to that, we are also looking outside of the ICG, where we can do emergency procurement of a few so that we can start to identify with the Lagos state government that is most affected and some of the highest risk locations and vaccinate them. “It is exactly in situations like this that the government is pushing very hard towards local production of medicines, and vaccine is one of them. It’s part of the broader agenda, it’s not what will solve the immediate outbreak that we have,” he said. On its part, the Federal Ministry of Environment has said sustainable human and environmental interaction is critical to cholera prevention and control. It said it is actively involved through the Department of Pollution Control and Environmental Health and the Environmental Health Officers Registration Council of Nigeria in activities to break the further transmission of the deadly disease through water and food testing to identify sources of infection, environmental sanitation campaigns, and household water chlorination. The ministry made this known in a statement signed by its Minister of State, Dr Iziaq Salako, on Sunday. “Arrangements are also being made to support states most affected by the outbreak with chlorine solution/tablets, water and food testing resources, information, education and communication materials, and technical advisory,” it noted. It urged all commissioners of the environment and local government chairmen to support environmental health officers across the country to step up their sanitation and hygiene activities through enhanced community-led sanitation to break further transmission and spread of the disease. “We also urge the scale-up of awareness campaigns focusing especially on places where prepared food and drinks are sold like markets, garages, schools, restaurants, stadia, religious, and sporting events. “In addition, sub-national governments are urged to strengthen environmental health surveillance in eating premises like “mama put”, cafeterias, restaurants, and mobile food vendors. We assure the general public that the Federal Ministry of Environment remains committed to ensuring a clean and healthy environment for all Nigerians. This is the only way we can prevent and curtail the incidence of Cholera outbreaks and other sanitation-related diseases,” the ministry stressed. As part of its contribution to the national response to cholera, the Nigerian Medical Association said it has deployed its members across the states to help contain the outbreak in the country. The President of the NMA, Prof Bala Audu, informed The PUNCH on Sunday that over 50,000 doctors in the country were involved in the pandemic response. Speaking on the outbreak, Audu noted, “We have our members in every state of the country, and all our members are active in all the states. As you know, all Nigerian doctors are our members, and we have over 50,000 members distributed across all states in the federation.’’ The NMA president admonished Nigerians to drink potable water and practice robust personal hygiene. He noted, “An outbreak of cholera is an issue of sanitation and hygiene, it has to do with either drinking contaminated water or contaminated food. So, there is a lot all levels of government can do to curb the spread, and there’s a lot individuals can do. “The most important single part is ensuring that people have potable drinking water, and they have functional toilets. This means that people don’t get sick in open places without contamination. Individuals must ensure that they drink potable water, practice hand-washing, and personal and environmental hygiene.” On his part, the President of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors, Dr Dele Abdullahi, said the association is working to encourage doctors to heighten their suspicion when attending to patients. “We are hoping to make it a routine discussion, regardless of what the patient is bringing to every clinic visit; they should talk to them about cholera. We will tell them that once they see the patient and you have an index of suspicion, they have to make noise about it,” he explained. Asked if the government is doing enough to address the situation, he replied, “No, they are not. We’ve been hearing about the outbreak for months, how many jingles or commercials have you heard about it? What stops them from making advertisements about the outbreak and the need for people to take precautions?’’ “We need to return to the practices of the olden days where we had environmental officers. There are practices that we had in the past that helped us cope with things like this that the government has neglected; such as doctors doing inspections of facilities, and the general check on the environment,” Abdullahi noted. Meanwhile, the Ogun state Commissioner for Health, Dr Tomi Coker, has said that the Ministry of Health would provide updates on the cholera situation in the state on Monday. Coker earlier said the state reported 14 cases of cholera and one fatality in the last week. The affected local governments are Ado-Odo/Ota, Abeokuta South and Ijebu North. In an update on the situation in the state, the Osun State Government disclosed that cholera test kits have been distributed to health facilities across the 30 local government areas in the state. ‘Osun cases negative’ This was contained in a statement signed by the Special Adviser to the Osun State Governor on Health Matters, Dr Adekunle Akindele, on Sunday. Akindele stated that there was no confirmed cholera case in the state, describing the report of 11 confirmed cases as inaccurate. Contrary to the claim in the said report, he explained that Osun recorded 13 suspected cases, but all turned out negative after laboratory tests. He assured residents of adequate measures to prevent cholera outbreak, and quick response to suspected cases. The statement partly read, “Osun State government through the Ministry of Health has proactively reactivated and established the Public Health Rapid Response Team and Cholera Technical Working Group respectively, to ensure adequate surveillance and risk communication activities to guarantee the health of the citizens. “Though Osun is yet to record any confirmed case of cholera, adequate preventive measures have been put in place to prevent the occurrence and respond to the outbreak in case we eventually record a case. “Thirteen samples collected so far. All 13 samples were sent to a laboratory, of which 13(100%) were negative, 0 positive and no pending result. Cholera RDT kits have been strategically distributed to some health facilities across the 30 LGAs.” He said the Ministry of Health would continue to intensify public awareness on the prevention of cholera and what to do when symptoms develop. (PUNCH)

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