The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has called for urgent and strengthened interventions following more reported cases and deaths from the recent cholera outbreak in Borno State.
This call was made in the North East flash update on the Cholera outbreak by the UN OCHA made available to newsmen of Sunday in Abuja.
According to the report, a total of 680 cases of suspected cholera have been recorded in eight Local Government Areas, including 18 deaths, as at September 7.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that this was against the 380 cases and 14 deaths that were earlier recorded by the Borno State Ministry of Health as at September 5.
The report explained that the figure represents a fatality rate of 2.6 per cent.
The UN OCHA said additional resources are urgently needed to strengthen the response for timely containment of the outbreak.
According to the UN OCHA’s report, health partners are currently using existing resources from regular emergency operations, which are not enough for a full scale response.
It stated that the resources available would not be sufficient in case of a spread of the outbreak to other areas.
It said: “A cholera outbreak was declared in Borno State, North-East Nigeria, on September 5 by the state Ministry of Health.
“The first suspected cases were recorded on August 19 and the following cases have been recorded:
“Jere (218 including 2 deaths), Magumeri (156 including 4 deaths), Maiduguri Metropolitan Council (MMC) (141 including 5 deaths), Chibok (85 including 3 deaths).
“Konduga (38 including 3 deaths), Kaga (28 including 1 death), Damboa (8), Shani (6).
“In response to the outbreak, the State Ministry of Health, with the support of humanitarian partners is coordinating the response through the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC).
“Coordination meetings are currently held twice a week at the EOC, and daily at LGA level.”
According to the report, a 100-bed Cholera Treatment Centre is operational in Dala (a locality in MMC), and in Magumeri LGA, a Cholera Treatment Unit has been set up in an existing health facility
It stated that Oral Rehydration Points have also been set up in El-Miskin, Muna Garage and Customs House camps for internally displaced persons.
It stated that additional ambulances are required in all affected LGAs to transport those seeking treatment.
The UN OCHA added that health organisations are carrying out risk communications, which include making regular and frequent visits to households to encourage individuals with cholera-like symptoms to be screened.
It explained that by communicating at household level, health partners have visited 1,163 households, which resulted in the identification of 18 suspected cases of cholera.
It elucidate basic hygiene practices as the most effective preventive measures against cholera, including the use of clean and safe water and proper sanitation.
The report noted that hygiene promotion activities, including radio broadcasts in English, Hausa, Kanuri and Shuwa, are underway in the affected LGAs to sensitise people to the risk of cholera.
The activities also aim to teach commuters how to prevent and manage diarrhoea at home, and educate them on the use of chloride tablets for household water treatment and safe water storage.
It stated that in terms of sanitation, humanitarian organisations are working to dislodge latrines and repair damaged latrines in the affected camps for IDPs where the risk of transmission was high due to congested living conditions.
The Key partners involved in the response include, the UN OCHA, Borno State Ministry of Health, UN Children’s Agency, World Health Organisation Action Against Hunger, International Rescue Committee.
Others are: Rural Water and Sanitation Agency, Solidarité International, Intersos, Médecins du Monde, Médecins Sans Frontières, ZOA, among others.