By Asmau Ahmad
The Minister of Water Resources, Malam Suleiman Adamu, has called for renewed commitment from all stakeholders to curtail continued reports of cholera outbreaks in parts of the country.
This was the thrust at a stakeholders’ meeting on National Cholera Prevention, Preparedness and Response Plan in Abuja on Friday.
He said cholera prevention plan was critical as access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) would go a long way to halt future occurrence and prevent deaths.
The minister was represented by Mr Ibiyemi Olu-Daniels, Deputy Director, WASH Response and Collaboration, with the ministry.
According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), no fewer than 91 deaths have been recorded from cholera from January to July 31, 2022, with a total of 3,610 suspected cases.
He noted that his ministry had evolved strategies by constructing water schemes like boreholes, dams and toilet facilities in curtailing the spread of waterborne diseases and open defecation practices.
According to him, developing a work plan will ensure equitable intervention spread, bringing the concept of inclusiveness, as all key stakeholders are identified with their roles succinctly spelt out.
“All these would in the long run ensure resources are dutifully put into use in a timely and coordinated manner to achieve desired results.
“Developing this cholera plan became necessary, owing to the brutal blow cholera dealt on our nation a year ago where cases reported nationally were about 111,062 with 3,604 deaths.
“As a result, conscious and deliberate efforts like these aimed at preventing a reoccurrence of such an ugly and perhaps embarrassing scenario, where enormous cases of cholera outbreak were reported, is certainly a commendable development.’’
Adamu added that cholera prevention, preparedness and response plan crosscut the purview of many ministries, departments and agencies, calling for more commitment.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Activities (OCHA), more than 1,000 cases of cholera have been reported in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states since May 2022.
The UN body attributed cholera cases to the widespread contamination of water sources by flooding, as the rainy season entered its peak.
OCHA says there is an urgent need for more designated and equipped Cholera Treatment Centers, Oral Rehydration Points and rapid testing kits.
It noted that states have been affected by flooding since the start of the rainy season, with an estimated 14,825 people, mainly the elderly, women and children being displaced.
The Director General, Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), Mr Clement Nze, had urged all stakeholders to intensify and step-up efforts to avert flood related disasters in their domains.
He said the nation was now in the peak of flooding season, saying the country is at the lowest point of River Niger Basin.
“This means that once the upper catchment of the Basin gets flooded, Nigeria should be prepared to experience flooding.
“As at September 16, the flow of River Niger at Niamey, Niger Republic, upstream of Nigeria, is within the normal limits.’’
He said the release of excess water from the Lagdo dam, which started on Sept. 13, would be a continuous process till the inflow into the Lagdo reservoirs recedes.
He said water releases from Lagdo dam, had contributed to the increase in volume of flow of River Benue, contributing to the recent flooding in parts of the country.