Niger State Government says it has approved N25 million for its Ministry of Health to continue with the ongoing surveillance on the outbreak of cholera and other related diseases.
The state Commissioner for Health and Hospital Management, Dr Jibrin Mustapha, made this disclosure at a press conference in Minna on Wednesday. The commissioner said that the money would be used to curtail the disease as well as prevent other outbreaks throughout the year.
He said that so far, seven people had died of cholera since the outbreak of the disease was confirmed on June 19, even as 120 cases were reported from Bida, Gbako, Katcha and Lavun Local Government Areas of the state. Dr Mustapha said that five among the cases tested positive to vibrio cholera, adding that 20 persons, who were on admission at the Umaru Sanda General Hospital Bida, were responding to treatment.
The commissioner added that 205 cases of gastroenteritis had been reported in Agaie, Gurara, Lapai, Mokwa, Munya, Paikoro, Suleja, Tafa and Wushishi Local Government Areas. He said a team comprising of the state health officials and partners such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF), had visited Bida to ensure rapid responses to the situation.
According to him, WHO is providing a technical support to ensure quick response to contain the outbreaks while UNICEF is supporting in coordinating strategic communication, health education and social mobilisation. “All these are the efforts being put in place to raise awareness and sensitise the people on the cholera outbreak. “We are also engaging the traditional institutions to further increase awareness on the outbreak within their domains.
“Our district surveillance officers in the 25 Local Government Areas have been put on high alert to report any suspected case immediately,” he said.
Mustapha said the state had put in place preventive awareness measures such as coordination, active surveillance, aggressive case management, infection prevention and control, community involvement and social mobilisation. He noted that the state had designated the Federal Medical Centre, Bida, Umaru Sanda General Hospital Bida and Kutigi General Hospital, as focal referral centres to manage the outbreak and give free medical treatment to affected persons.
Mustapha advised the people to report immediately to a nearby health facility, if they experience symptoms as vomiting, diarrhea, rapid dehydration, weakness, low pulse, reduced or no urination and muscle cramps. The commissioner urged the people to embrace good personal and environmental hygiene, consumption of hygienic food and clean water and dispose plastic bags containing faeces in latrines.