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Monday, July 15, 2024

Cholera outbreak: Group urges Abia to be proactive

The recent outbreak of cholera, a severe diarrheal illness caused by bacterium vibrio cholerae, reported in Lagos and other places in Nigeria, with a growing death toll, should make other states, Abia included, to be on the alert, and not to be caught unawares as experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Dr Alex Otti
Dr Alex Otti, Governor of Abia State

The Foundation for Environmental Rights, Advocacy and Development (FENRAD), a pro-democracy and environmental rights advocacy group based in Abia State, has called on the state government to be proactive.

FENRAD equally calls for an interministerial approach towards the recent health challenge, where the ministries of health, environment and information work round the clock in maintaining public health while also enlightening people on the need for personal and domestic hygiene.

Cholera is a disease that thrives in an unsanitary and unhygienic surrounding, so as a pro-environment group, the Foundation calls for emphasis on healthy living among Abians.

The Foundation commends the rapid approach adopted by the state ministry of health so far where some 109 suspected cases, across six local councils, returned negative after diagnosis. However, the state should not rest on its oars, in the thinking that it is home and dry.

Now is the time to activate all relevant MDAs given that movement to and from affected states has not become a public health concern as of yet. Abia should also work closely with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), adopting relevant measures,” said the group.

It went further: “The present administration in Abia has shown its commitment to robust healthcare delivery, by awarding a sectoral allocation of about 15% of the 2024 appropriation to health, unlike what obtained before. It is expected that the state would leverage this provision to ensure rapid response.

“Also, it is expected that the state government, having begun with rehabilitating some state-owned hospitals, should raise the bar further high in primary healthcare. A major concern now is the toll the epidemic may take if rural areas where there is no access to basic health amenities are affected. Not even the urban poor many of whom are still living in filthy, informal settlements are free.

“Governor Alex Otti must see to it that the goal of a reliable primary healthcare sector is actualised, and that all Abians, regardless of their station and status, have and enjoy access to provision thereof.

“The issue of cholera outbreak is one which an efficient primary healthcare system would take care of, therefore all measures must be adopted to see that people don’t die of treatable and preventable diseases.”

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