By Tosin Kolade
Zamfara, Feb. 6, 2019 (NNN) The Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Emergency Working Group says no fewer than 130 people died of cholera in the state in 2018, calling on Zamfara government to halt the outbreak.
The Team Lead of the group, Mr Baba Galadima made this known while on a Cholera Assessment and Monitoring visit to Zamfara on Wednesday.
Galadima said that the state needed to reduce cholera deaths by 90 per cent as it was a major public health concern.
According to him, a report from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control shows that no fewer than 44,201 suspected cases with more than 836 deaths have so far been reported from 204 LGAs in 20 states in 2018.
“Cholera continues to hit communities around our country, Zamfara state currently faces the largest cholera outbreaks with over 8,331 suspected cases and more than 130 deaths reported as at December 2018.
He described cholera as a disease of inequity which sickens and kills only the poorest and most vulnerable people, saying “the map of cholera is essentially the same as a map of poverty.’’
He stressed that cholera could be controlled with a multi-sector approach, including basic water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services, and oral cholera vaccines (OCV), saying health intervention alone would not solve it.
Galadima noted that death from cholera was preventable with the tools Nigeria has today, stressing the goal of ending its public health impact was within reach.
He also called for budgetary allocation for sanitation and hygiene, adding that the Federal Government said it would not be business as usual, that states must begin to contribute.
Alhaji Sani Yaro, the Programme Manager, Zamfara Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA), noted that the agency had set up an Emergency Operations Centre to provide information and response to humanitarian needs.
He listed challenges of poor funds, inadequate resources to construct toilets, saying the state had trained WASH committees in the cholera affected communities to pass the message of hygiene forward.
While commending UNICEF for intervention, Yaro said that 35 new boreholes had been constructed in in selected cholera communities.
He said that rehabilitation of 80 hand pump boreholes and five boreholes had been provided to help in scaling up interventions to meet the sanitation and hygiene needs of the communities.
The programme manager said that the agency had also carried out social mobilisation and awareness by triggering 105 communities on community-led total sanitation for people to end open defecation practice.
Yaro pledged the commitment of the state to pay its counterpart funds for sanitation and hygiene scale-up, noting that this was already being provided partly.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NNN) reports that the WASH in Emergency Working Group was established in 2012, when the country experienced serious devastating flood that affected 85milion people from 14 states.
The group has since remained active, especially in the North-East where IDPs exist and have responded immediately on outbreaks.
The group membership cuts across WASH sector players from Institutions, Development Partners, International and Local NGOs, CSOs responding to WASH issues in the North East, with UNICEF as its co-lead. (NNN)
Edited by Grace Yussuf
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