By Ibrahim Adeleke
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has said Cholera has claimed more lives in Nigeria than the dreaded coronavirus pandemic, especially in 2021.
The centre’s director-general, Ifedayo Adetifa, said the country has recorded “a little more than 3,600” deaths from cholera in the last 11 months while the total fatalities recorded from coronavirus since 2020 when the index case was recorded still stands at 2,977.
Mr Adetifa, who was a guest on Channels Television morning programme- “Sunrise Daily,” to give an update on the Omicron COVID-19 variant found in Nigeria, noted that the NCDC “has been working behind the scene to mitigate the spread of cholera, as the public attention is more on COVID-19 than other diseases”.
He said: “Nobody actually knows that we have teams out in five, six states now that have good cholera response. We’ve had rapid response teams in all of the states that have had cholera outbreaks.
“We are currently preparing for the meningitis season, all the refresher training, all sensitisation are already in the works.
“So, behind the scenes, we would like all of these other areas to receive equal or even more attention, but we have no choice but to focus on all of the diseases that are likely to have a public health impact on the country according to the mandate that we have been given.”
Explaining further, Mr Adetifa said cholera outbreaks were recorded in different states at different times, saying some of the states have had short outbreaks, while others have had protracted outbreaks.
He also explained that rain in areas with cases of open defecation has made them be more at risk of contracting cholera.
“We are dealing with some fresh outbreaks, there is a connection between this and the rainy season, for example. So when you’ve got the rains and areas with open defecation, and normal water sources are then flooded by rainwater and mixed and then you have a problem,” he said.
He also urged state authorities to invest in water and sanitation across the federation.
As of November 21, 2021, the NCDC disclosed that Nigeria has recorded a total of 3,566 deaths and 103,589 suspected cholera cases across 32 states of the federation and the FCT – a 3.4 per cent Case Fatality Ratio.
According to the centre, four states- Bauchi (19,470 cases), Jigawa (13,293 cases) Kano (12,116 cases), and Zamfara (11.918 cases) account for 55 per cent of all cumulative cases.
The latest data on the coronavirus pandemic by NCDC, shows that Nigeria’s fatality toll from the disease now stands at 2,977, while the infection toll increased to 214,218 on Tuesday, following the confirmation of 105 fresh cases.