NIGERIA. Abuja: Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) under the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has urged the Nigerian government to invest more in cholera prevention measures, as well as pleaded with Nigerians to always be cautious of preventive measures for proper disease prevention and control.
WASH UNICEF Manager, Oumar Doumbouya, stated this during the Cholera Preparedness, Prevention, and Response Training for Federal Ministry of Water Resources stakeholders in Abuja.
According to the programme, which was organised in collaboration with UNICEF, the event is intended to assist the Nigerian government and local communities in enabling children to achieve their health rights.
Doumbouya revealed that the Cholera outbreak in Nigeria in 2021 was disastrous, necessitating immediate action to reduce the surge in the preceding years.
Doumbouya went on to say that in 2021 alone, approximately 3,600 cholera-related deaths were recorded, which is enough to enable the Federal Government to invest significantly in disaster preparedness in order to avoid further disaster.
“UNICEF through WASH has laid its helping hands to the Nigerian Government in terms of profiling a lasting solution to the case of cholera in the country. This comes in the aspect of organizing cholera-related events in the case of emergencies where they both work collaboratively,” Doumbouya said.
However, UNICEF also assists in the training of health workers so that they are equipped with the necessary knowledge to combat cholera.
Doumbouya also mentioned that 2021 was a bad year for cholera, which allows us to reflect on why this happened, why so many people died from cholera, why we can prevent cholera, but it still happened.
“It is the right time Nigerians understand that cholera is still quite in place and needs to be eliminated. And this is best done through prevention and adhering to health-related prevention tips,” Doumbouya said.
“We should be very careful of these preventive tips as cholera is still much in place and we must as well continue to wash our hands regularly and be mindful of the kind of food we consume. And in general, sanitation and hygiene behaviors need to be taken seriously,” he added.
“Creating more awareness about cholera is key in terms of prevention and curtailing of the virus. And the awareness should not be restricted to the urban or rural area alone, as the outbreak always occurs to the vulnerable people who do not have access to good drinking water.”
In addition, Emmanuel Awe, Director of Water Quality Control and Sanitation at the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, stated that a lack of proper monitoring, workable plans, and synergy between the Ministry and related agencies has contributed to the country’s problem of weak water safety plans.
As a result, Awe has called for state, local, and federal government collaboration to improve water safety activities in Nigeria. As it will go a long way toward preventing a further outbreak of cholera.
Awe also stated that the collaborating agencies have agreed to provide and assist in the fight and prevention of the disease, and have promised to provide prevention kits needed for proper monitoring before the start of the next rainy season.
“As part of the Federal Government’s plan to curtail the spread of Cholera, it has come up with strategic plans by constructing water schemes around the country,” Awe said.
“These strategies include; boreholes and dams, and the construction of toilets to reduce open defecation.”
Awe also stated that people are being trained in water safety and community-based water quality surveillance, among other things, as part of the efforts to prevent and eradicate cholera in Nigeria.
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