As cases of Cholera continues to rise in Zamfara, Bauchi, Kano, Gombe, Plateau, Niger, Zamfara and Abuja, the Federal Government on Monday announced moves to stem the spread of the water borne disease, including activating a sanitation desk in each of the 36 states and FCT.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja, the Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar who decried that at the last count, the disease has affected 33,661 persons with mortality standing at 938 in suspected cases including 938 in 22 states and Federal Capital Territory, said the Federal Government has decided to introduce measures to combat the disease.
Abubakar while lamenting that thus year’s outbreak of cholera was very serious as it has continued to ravage many states with more fatalities being reported on a daily basis, noted that: “In responding to the recent cholera outbreak, the Federal Ministry of Environment, has activated the Sanitation Desks in the 36 State Ministries of Environment and FCT urging them to carry out environmental sanitation activities in their various states aimed at containing the outbreak.”
He said: “The Ministry has also requested the Environmental Health Officers in the states and local governments across the country to intensity their efforts in carrying out sanitary inspection of premises and abatement of nuisances that could result to diseases outbreak such as cholera, Lassa fever. e.t.c.”
He also revealed that very soon the Federal Ministry of Environment will be flagging off National Environmental Sanitation Response Intervention to Cholera Outbreak in Kubwa, Abuja which is currently the epi-centre in the FCT, adding that afterwards the Ministry in collaboration with relevant stakeholders including Environmental Health Officer’s (EHO’s) in the states and local Government Areas will embark on nationwide intervention response activities.’
He said the activities to be carried out include sanitary inspection of premises/Environmental Health Surveillance of hotspot communities; dissinfection of contaminated water sources/sites; strengthening capacity of Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) in the State Ministries of Environment and the affected local government areas; sanitary inspection of food business premises of affected communities.
He said advocacy, sensitization and community Town Hall meetings on control of Open Defecation practices and its health impact would be carried out as well as sanitary inspection of Schools (Primary & Secondary) in affected communities; training of community volunteers on safe water handling, environmental sanitation and hygiene practices; working with the State and Local Governments to ensure enforcement of relevant Environmental Sanitation Laws, Standards, Regulations and Guidelines in all the communities.
Meanwhile he advised all Nigerians to imbibe good sanitation and hygiene practices and take preventive and control measures such as keeping the environment clean; ensuring the use of clean and safe water; washing hands regularly with soap and running water especially at critical moments such as after using the toilet, after coughing or sneezing; after cleaning a child who has gone to the toilet; after touching books and money; before preparing food; before (and after eating); and after playing with animals.
He also advised against open defecation; cooking food well, keeping it covered and eating it hot; disposing wastes regularly and at designated collection centres.
He said: “This is a collective responsibility which requires concerted efforts of all and sundry. This is the only way we can prevent and curtail incidences of cholera outbreak and other communicable diseases. I therefore call on all members of the public to keep their environment clean.”