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Editorial
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There are proves that no fewer than 50 people have reportedly dead due to outbreak of chol­era while scores of others have been hospitalized in the recent time in some parts of the country. As at the last count, the outbreak has spread to states such as Kaduna, Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Kano, Pla­teau, Yobe, Nasarawa, Anambra, Kebbi, Niger and Zamfara, among others.

There are proves that no fewer than 50 people have reportedly dead due to outbreak of chol­era while scores of others have been hospitalized in the recent time in some parts of the country. As at the last count, the outbreak has spread to states such as Kaduna, Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Kano, Pla­teau, Yobe, Nasarawa, Anambra, Kebbi, Niger and Zamfara, among others.

The most awful was the outbreak of the disease in Government Girls Secondary School, Kawo, Kaduna State, where one student report­edly lost her life and about 40 students hospitalized at the General Hospital, Kawo, while 89 students were under watch.
The reports stated further that the students must have contract­ed the disease through the source of the water which they drink in the school. Wastes and human faeces, it was reported sur­rounded the well from where water is drawn to serve the school community. Also as at May 26,1about 3 of the 434 suspected cases of cholera have lost their lives in Adamawa State, prompting the World Health Organization (WHO) to draft her 39 staff to contain the outbreak in parts of Mubi North and South local government areas of the state.
The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said in its situation report in May that 733 suspected cases of cholera were reported in eight local government areas. NCDC also raised the alarm on the spread of cholera to 16 states. It blamed the cholera outbreak on the contamina­tion of drinking water sup­plies by excreta from infected persons and the almost two-month strike called by the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU).
According to WHO, Nigeria accounts for the highest bur­den of countries with cholera outbreak in Africa, followed by Ghana and Sudan. A data issued by the NCDC shows that the country has recorded 189 deaths occa­sioned by cholera between 2016 and 2018. A breakdown of the figure shows that there were 768 cases, out of which 14 were laboratory confirmed and 32 deaths. Simi­larly, in 2017, 4,221 cases were recorded in 20 states, out of which 60 were confirmed as cholera and 107 deaths.
But, so far these years, over 50 deaths have been recorded out of the 2,479 cases recorded out of the 2,479 cases recorded in 16 states, while 78 cases were labora­tory confirmed. The NCDC said cholera was an easily treatable disease, if detected early. It added: "Most infected people can be treated success­fully through prompt admin­istration of oral rehydration solution (ORS) and supportive treatment." This is not the first time students have died needlessly in the country. In March 2017, at least two students of Queen's College, Yaba, Lagos, died through water contami­nation.
Cholera, described as a feaco-oral disease, is trans­mitted through contaminated food and water. According to a professor of Community Health and Consultant Public Health Physician at the College of Medicine University of Lagos (CMUL), Bayo Ona-jole, out­break of cholera is pos­sible when there is a breakdown in social services. It is dis­heartening that in the 21st Nigeri­ans, par­ticularly schoolchil­dren, are dying need­less deaths because of lack of access to potable water. We urge the Federal Gov­ernment to declare a state of emergency on the provision of water. This is essential be­cause in the words of the late Afrobeat legend, Fela Aniku-lapo Kuti, "there is nothing you can do without water".
Also, government at all levels must take immediate and adequate steps to make provision of drinkable water a priority. The government also needs to start immediate enlight­enment campaign on clean environment, while Nigerians must also embrace personal hygiene as well as proper waste disposal.
"It is government that should put policy in place for refuse to be cleared; it is government that can ensure there is policy on food hy­giene at all levels, right from the time of production to point of consumption," Ona-jole said.
Nigeria Moment is of the opinion that efforts should further be made to reduce, if not eradicate, open defecation, which is a major source of food and water contamination in the country. According the United Na­tions Children's Education Fund (UNICEF)'s Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, 771 local government areas of Ni­geria are still grappling with open defecation. This shows that only three local govern­ment areas in the country are free of open defecation. The indicator, which ranked Nigeria second among coun­tries with highest prevalence of open defecation, showed that 25 per cent of Nigerians engage in open defecation.
There is urgent need for the Federal Gov­ernment to take critical measures to address this national challenge. An outbreak that has spread to 16 states deserves declaration of emergency on. The Federal Ministry of Health must work with the NCDC and Ministries of Health across the states to curtail cholera in Nigeria. In 2017, over 100 Nigerians died as a result of cholera. So far, more than 50 lives have been lost to the outbreak in 2018, let us quell the spread now.


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