The Federal Government on Thursday expressed concern over the rising number of deaths arising from the Cholera outbreak in Namu village in Qua’pan Local Government Area of Plateau State.
Moses Anefiong, the Deputy Director, Disease and Control, Federal Ministry of Health, expressed the concern during an a joint assessment tour of the affected area.
The number of deaths since the outbreak of the epidemic in the state has risen from eight to nine, while the number of people hospitalised jumped from the initial 61 to 86 persons.
Anefiong said: “Inasmuch as government is doing all it can to provide potable water for its citizens, people on their parts should maintain personal hygiene.
“The Minister of Health is worried that people are still dying of cholera disease today.
“It is more worrisome as the number of casualties and infected persons are on the increase daily.
“As government is making efforts to provide potable water, people should not relegate the issue of personal hygiene to the background.
“All they need to always do is simple: hand washing before eating and after going to toilet and should also cover their foods against flies.
”Above all, the issue of sanitation must also be taken seriously by the people.
“These are simple things, but very important.”
The deputy director called on Plateau and Nasarawa State Governments to ensure that the monthly sanitation was duly observed by residents of the area.
“If care is not taken, Lassa fever can also infect the people as well,” he said.
Dr. Raymond Juryit, an epidemiologist, also expressed concern over the rapid spread of the disease, assuring the people that adequate measures would be taken to address the situation.
Juryit, who attributed the main cause of the epidemic to overcrowding, said that most of the victims were those displaced by the Obi-Assakio crisis in Nasarawa State, now taking refuge in the area.
He said: “Overcrowding, dirty environment and absence of personal hygiene are the major causes of this epidemic.
“At the moment, about 7,000 people affected by the recent crisis in Nasarawa are taking refuge in Namu, making the terrain more populated and dirty.”
The epidemiologist lauded the efforts of the Disease Surveillance and Notification Officers and other health personnel in the area for reporting the outbreak in time.
Also, Alhassan Barde, the Executive Secretary of the State Emergency Management Agency, said that quick intervention by the agency was one of its statutory mandates.
Barde said that the agency’s intervention was to curtail the spread of the disease to other parts of the state.
The World Health Organisation, the State Committee on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene were also part of the assessment team.
Some of the infected victims are currently receiving treatment at the state Primary Health Clinic, Our Lady of Apostles Hospital, Taimoko Clinic, Dariye Clinic and Gateway Clinic.