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Monday, July 15, 2024

Cholera outbreaks expose access issues, poor integrity of water delivery systems – RDI

As deaths from the latest cholera outbreak in the country climbed to.40 on Friday, June 21, 2024, the Renevlyn Development Initiative (RDI) has said that the recurrent outbreaks and needless deaths in the country expose the challenges that force Nigerians to patronise unwholesome sources and the parlous management of water delivery systems.

Muhammad Ali Pate
Muhammad Ali Pate, the Coordinating Minister of Health & Social Welfare

RDI position is coming on the heels of the alert by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) that the country does not have enough vaccines to address the growing cases of cholera across the country.

Deaths attributable to the current outbreak in Lagos was 24 as of Wednesday, June 19, representing the highest among the 10 states of the federation that contributed 90 per cent to the burden of cholera. Others are Bayelsa, Zamfara, Abia, Cross River, Bauchi, Delta, Katsina, Imo and Nasarawa. The cholera deaths are blamed largely on delayed presentation of cases.

RDI Project Officer, Ifeoluwa Adediran, said: “The periodic cholera outbreaks are very disturbing and reinforce our arguments that the abysmally low investment in the water sector at both state and federal level are further complicated by poor maintenance of the facilities that house and freight water from the waterworks to the different localities they service. In some communities the residents resort to unwholesome sources to get water. These are the issues that fuel the cholera outbreaks.

“In Lagos where there have been more deaths, we are worried about the integrity of pipelines that convey water to localities. In many communities the pipelines right of way include gutters where breakages and other breaches usually occur and are not addressed for months and years in some cases.”

While commending the federal and particularly the Lagos State Government for sensitisation efforts to address the current crisis, the RDI project officer insisted that it is time that government at all levels take the issue of provision of water to remote communities and ensuring pipeline integrity as priority.

“Our recommendation is that increasing investments in the water sector must be complemented and go pari pasu with ensuring the water delivery systems are regularly maintained. Water must also be available and affordable so that citizens are not forced to patronise other sources that lead to cholera and other illnesses,” added Adediran.

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