Nigeria is witnessing one of its worst cholera outbreaks in years, with more than 2,300 people dying from suspected cases as the West African nation struggles to cope with outbreaks of several diseases.
Lagos, Nigeria — Nigeria is witnessing one of its worst cholera outbreaks in years, with more than 2,300 people dying from suspected cases as Africa’s most populous country struggles to cope with outbreaks of several diseases. is fighting for.
According to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control, 25 of Nigeria’s 36 states and the capital Abuja had at least 69,925 suspected cases of cholera as of September 5. Children between 5 and 14 are the most affected age group and the overall case fatality rate is 3.3%, which is more than double the 1.3% case fatality rate of COVID-19 in Nigeria.
At least 2,323 people have died from suspected cholera this year, but there are concerns that the numbers may be small as many affected communities are difficult to reach.
The states in the north of Nigeria where flooding and poor sanitation increase the risk of transmission are the hardest hit. The 19 states of the north have 98% suspected cases.
Cholera is endemic and seasonal in Nigeria, where only 14% of its population of over 200 million have access to safely managed drinking water supply services, according to 2020 government data, which also show that open defecation is still performed by at least 30 people. % of residents in 14 states
There are also regular outbreaks of yellow fever, Lassa fever, measles and other infectious diseases in Nigeria.
But he and other officials say the experience of those health crises has helped Nigeria prepare for the worst. He said, “Earlier investments in diagnostic capability, case management, electronic surveillance systems, event-based surveillance, risk communication, logistics management systems and national/subnational workforce development have paid off significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. “
However, this does not include cholera, and in some states, officials have said that COVID-19 has taken center stage.
In Kogi state, which has Nigeria’s second-highest cholera case fatality rate of 24.5%, top health official Saka Haruna told the AP that the rate is higher because of the difficulty in accessing care in inaccessible areas.
Even in the capital, caregiving has been challenging. Ase Umukoro said she had a “very difficult” experience when her brother Samson had cholera and was rejected in three hospitals before being admitted to a fourth. He asked the government to “at least do our best to give us good water to avoid that kind of disease”.
Sokoto state has Nigeria’s fourth-highest number of suspected cholera cases, and its health commissioner told the AP that 22 of 23 local government areas have been hit by the outbreak.
Ali Innam said, “What is causing the infection is the lack of good sanitation conditions and open defecation in our villages, which is aggravated by heavy rains.”
This is a common problem. Government data from a study supported by UNICEF found only 21% had access to safely managed sanitation services nationwide.
Engineer Michael Oludare, an Oyo-based water scientist, said it is “very important” for officials to provide basic water and sanitation. He said the poor, women, children and internally displaced people are “among those who will have problems if it comes” to cholera.
In addition, Nigeria still grapples with the challenge of insufficient vaccines and trained manpower to cover all local government areas where cholera outbreaks have been reported.