The outbreak of cholera has reared its ugly head in some cities in the country. A student of Government Girls Secondary School, Kawo, Kaduna State, has died of the disease while 42 others have been hospitalised at the General Hospital, Kawo, following the outbreak of cholera in their school.
Already, health workers have been deployed to the school to manage the situation, though officials of state’s Ministry of Health as well as the school principal declined commenting on the issue.
Officials of Red Cross Nigeria, who were at the school in collaboration with other emergency organisations to put the situation under control, said the affected 42 students were having diarrhea and vomiting as a result of the unhygienic environment.
Also, the Deputy Director, Disease Control Centre, Ibrahim Suleiman, told newsmen that he could only confirm 39 cases, who have been evacuated from their hostels to the hospital.
According to him, “we have 39 cases on admission due to diarrhea and vomiting. We are yet to confirm the real cause but there are a lot of contaminations around the water source the students are using, which may be a serious contributory factor. Apart from these 39 students, we are also investigating another 89 cases, which are not diarrhea and vomiting,” he said.
A parent simply identified as Ibrahim said the surrounding of the well, which is the only water source for the students, was littered with excreta, as the overhead tank serving water to the school was not functioning. This, according to him, has made it difficult for the students to use the toilet facility in the school.
“My daughter was affected. The school hygiene was too poor. There is excreta around the well where these children are getting water from”, he added.
This is coming at the time the state government is trying to revamp the educational sector in the state to providie qualitative education for Kaduna children.
In a related development, the Plateau Commissioner for Health, Kunden Deyin, yesterday said three persons had been confirmed to have cholera, out of 90 suspected cases in the state. Deyin, who disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Jos, said three other persons had died with symptoms suspected to be cholera.
The commissioner said the deaths were caused by the non-availability of the Rapid Response Diagnostic Kits, which would have been used to confirm the diagnosis. He added that the recently suspended strike by the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) was also contributory to the mortality.
“Initially, we had 93 suspected cases of cholera, however, three persons died without our confirming if they had the disease or not. Fortunately, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) provided us with Rapid Diagnostic Kits, with which we carried out test on five patients from the 90 suspected cases. Three test samples came out positive,” Deyin said.
The commissioner expressed optimism that the outbreak would be contained with the suspension of the strike by JOHESU and with the provision of the test kits by the NCDC. He called on the public to ensure that they always wash their fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating them, adding that they should also boil their drinking water to kill the organism causing cholera.
He also called on people to avoid indiscriminate dumping of waste, adding that cholera was a water-borne disease. According to him, indiscriminately dumped human waste can be washed into various water sources and bodies, especially with the rains.
Meanwhile, the cholera outbreak has extended to Mubi North, Mubi South, Hong and Maiha local government areas of Adamawa State. A statement from the Information Officer of Adamawa Ministry of Health, Mohammed Abubakar, said two new cases were recorded each in Hong and Maiha local councils, but there was no death.
Abubakar said as of Sunday, the total number of cases recorded in Mubi North, Mubi South, Maiha and Hong stood at 985, with 16 deaths. The breakdown indicated that Mubi North had 427 cases, with 10 deaths, while Mubi South had 554 cases, with six deaths.
Hong and Maiha, which are recording their first cases since the outbreak early last month have two cases each, with no death. The ministry put the fatality ratio of the outbreak as at June 3 at 1.6 per cent, a drastic reduction from the initial 17 per cent when the epidemic started in May. It urged the public to do more on personal and environmental hygiene.