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Cholera: UNICEF Tasks Nigerians On Good Hygiene Practices

Angela Onwuzoo

To reduce the frequent cases of cholera outbreak in Nigeria, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has called on Nigerians particularly parents to maintain and ensure good hygiene practices during this year’s rainy season in order to prevent their children from the deadly disease. Speaking during the just concluded two-day workshop on emergencies, ethical and humanitarian stories reporting for journalists held in Kano, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, UNICEF, Mr. Olusoji Adeniyi, said when people maintain good hygiene practices and keep their environment clean especially during the rainy season, it reduces their vulnerability to cholera.

Adeniyi noted that the best way to combat the disease, was through improved sanitation and also putting an end to open defecation, adding that the mortality rate of cholera in Nigeria was high. Cholera epidemic in Nigeria has been recurrent for decades due to poor hygiene and poor water supply and use. Early this year, Bayelsa State alone recorded 23 deaths , while no fewer than 25 people died in Anambra State.

The UNICEF Officer revealed that more than 500 people had died as a result of cholera outbreak in the country in the last five months, stressing that the situation calls for urgent attention. He also noted that not less than 15,000 people die of cholera in Nigeria annually. “Between 2010and 2011, over 15,000 people died of cholera. Sometimes, it is a whole family that is involved”, he said. Cholera according to experts is an acute gastrointestinal disease caused by Vibrio cholerae. The bacterium generates a soluble toxin in the intestinal tract that activates watery diarrhea leading to extreme loss of fluid, dehydration and collapse. The fatality rate is usually very high if left untreated, especially among children and infants. Deaths can also occur in adults in a matter of hours after initial presentation.

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