Cholera: Experts proffer ways to curb spread, prevent future outbreak

Some medical practitioners have identified enactment of legislation on homelessness and open defecation, adequate hygiene, enlightenment campaigns and job creation as major approaches to curb spread of cholera and prevent its future outbreak in Nigeria.

They gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos, following the outbreak of cholera in the state and some states across the country.

NAN reports that on June 9, 2024, Lagos State Government declared a cholera outbreak as reported by the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) on June 12.

A Medical Imaging Scientist, Dr Livinus Abonyi, said that a legislation on homelessness and open-defecation should be enacted to reduce the number of idle people on the streets and curb the effects of open-defecation on environment.

Abonyi, Head, Department of Medical Radiography, Faculty of Clinical Sciences at the University of Lagos, College of Medicine, said there should be sustained campaign against open-defecation, with highlights of its implications to the society.

He said that the high incidence of cholera in Lagos State was due to the population of homeless persons in several nooks and crannies of the city.

According to him, these homeless people abound under the bridges, side streets, uncompleted buildings, garages, parked vehicles, pedestrian bridges and shops of road side markets.

“These category of people are involved in massive open-defecation which have been going on for some time in the state.

“The coming of the rain must have easily washed the contaminated waste into domestic water sources of the affected inhabitants,” Abonyi told NAN.

To prevent future outbreak, Abonyi said it required strategic policy formulation and implementation.

The Scientist said that the existing health facilities should be strengthened, especially in deployment of manpower and provision of more bed spaces.

This, he said would enable the recovery and survival of affected individuas who would be able to make it to the hospital.

According to him, in this era of scarcity of healthcare professionals, government should call and recruit volunteers to help cater for the current high demand for medicare.

He said, “To prevent future outbreak of cholera requires strategic policy formulation and implementation.

“Firstly, is the issue of instability of the Nigerian economy; the Federal and State governments need to come together and agree on how to truthfully address the crumbling state of the Nigerian economy.

“A nation that is rapidly producing poor, angry and frustrated people is sitting on a keg of gun power.

“Government should establish farms for food production and recruit all homeless and idle able-bodied citizens into the venture”.

Speaking, a Consultant Family & Lifestyle Medicine Physician, Dr Moyosore Makinde, cautioned against consumption of contaminated foods and water to avoid contracting cholera infection.

Makinde, also the President of Society of Lifestyle Medicine of Nigeria (SOLONg), said that consumption of contaminated foods and water remained the major means through an individual could contract cholera.

According to her, highly dedicated personal hygiene, which entails safe drinking water and consumables remain the only means to prevent contraction of cholera.

“Cholera is transmitted through food and water that are contaminated with a bacteria called Vibrio Cholerae.

“The recommendations for prevention include hand hygiene, particularly hand washing at key moments after using the toilet and before eating.

“Boiling of drinking water and use of treated water for cooking are also essential.

“Individuals should avoid eating raw food or undercooked foods like seafood and vegetables. Fruits should be thoroughly washed before consumption.

“Environmental sanitation is a critical factor as well, which entails proper disposal of human waste and cleaning of drainages.

“And the cholera vaccine can also be administered to prevent infection,” Makinde said.

A General Physician Consultant, Dr Gerald Chinasa, advised Nigerians to maintain good personal hygiene and ensure proper waste disposal and sanitation practices.

Chinasa pointed out that cholera is a food and water-borne disease caused by the ingestion of the vibrio cholerae bacteria.

According him, cholera can be fatal if medical intervention was delayed or not properly handled.

“Foodstuff bought from the markets needed to be washed well with salt before consumption.

“People should ensure they wash their toilets in and out with alcohol based detergents at least three times a week.

“Parents should ensure their children were trained to imbibe healthy living principles of proper hand washing after contacts with people and public places.

“Hand washing under running water with soap after visiting the toilets or after returning from school or public places are tips for preventing contraction and spread of communicable diseases like cholera,” he said.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button