… Continuation from How to Prevent and Curb New Cases of Cholera Pt 1
The public health physician said, “When it rains the water washes dirt, faecal matter or poop as well as materials from the waste bin of every community into available clean water.
Consequently, food items which are consumed through the mouth get contaminated. Besides, the NCDC said the number of cholera cases tend to increase with the onset of the rainy season. As part of strategy to curb cholera infection in the country, the NCDC has activated a multi-sectoral National Cholera Emergency Operations Centre (EOC). Given the risk of large outbreaks across states, the NCDC activated the EOC. The EOC is co-led with the Federal Ministries of Environment and Water Resources, given the link between cholera and water, sanitation and hygiene. The director general of the NCDC, said that the national EOC has been supporting states to ensure a coordinated, rapid and effective response to the ongoing cholera outbreak.
This includes the deployment of National Rapid Response Teams (RRT) to support the response at the level of states, provision of medical and laboratory supplies, the scale up of risk communications, amongst other activities. Additionally, Ihekweazu stated that the resources that have been developed as part of Nigeria’s COVID- 19 response are being used to strengthen the response to the cholera outbreak.
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“This includes the digitalisation of the national surveillance system, establishment of laboratories and treatment centres, training of health workers, among others.” Considering that the risk of death from cholera is higher, when treatment is delayed, the NCDC said it is very important to visit a health facility if you have symptoms such as watery diarrhoea and vomiting.
The NCDC also urged members of the public to be aware of the risk of cholera disease and adhere to the following precautionary measures to ensure safety: boil and store water in a clean and safe container before drinking; prepare, cook and store food safely; and wash hands frequently with soap under clean running water to prevent infectious diseases including cholera. “This is especially important after defecation and before handling food or eating,” advised Ihekweazu.
Similarly, the statement urged people to avoid open defecation and indiscriminate refuse dumping which contribute to the spread of cholera. Furthermore, the NCDC called on healthcare workers to have a high index of suspicion for cholera, and maintain universal care precautions at all times. “The NCDC continues to advocate for improved access to clean water, proper sanitation and hygiene. “This is a critical measure to prevent cholera cases and outbreaks.
“We urge state governments to continue to provide access to clean water for citizens. On his part, Olugbogi said, “You can protect yourself and your family from cholera by using only water that has been boiled, water that has been chemically disinfected or bottled water.
“Be sure to use bottled, boiled, or chemically disinfected water for the following purposes: drinking, preparing food or drinks, making ice, brushing your teeth, washing your face and hands, washing dishes and utensils that you use to eat or prepare food, and washing fruits and vegetables.”
Olugbogi advised Nigerians to disinfect water so as to make it safe for consumption; boil it for one minute (or three minutes at higher temperature), filter it and use a commercial chemical disinfectant to purify it. With the above measures in place, the medical experts affirmed that they will go a long way to curtail the impact of cholera on citizens.
CC: Dr Japhet Olugbogi
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