According to the United Nations (UN), there are currently 4 000 suspected cases of cholera including 54 deaths.

Cholera is an acute diarrhea infection spread by contaminated food and water. It can be easily treated with oral rehydration solution if caught early but can kill within hours if left untreated. A major vaccination campaign by United Nations Childrens’ Fund (UNICEF) is currently underway, and aims to reach more than 900 000 people in and around Maiduguri this week.

Critical cases are moved to a treatment centre being handled by Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF). “There are a lot of challenges around a cholera outbreak because it’s a waterborne disease, so that is spreading around very quickly when it’s raining season and it’s getting, and is worsened by the fact that there is poor sanitary condition in the camps where the IPDs are living today in Maiduguri town and around the area. So there are a lot of factors which are not helping the situation, so today there is a lot of challenges,” said Anne-Cecile Niord, MSF Project coordinator.

About 1.8 million people have fled their homes due to Boko Haram violence or food shortages, and nearly three-quarters are now in ‘cholera hotspots’, the UN said this month. While the outbreak started in Maiduguri the capital of Borno, the number of cholera cases is increasing rapidly in the nearby towns of Monguno and Dikwa, according to MSF.

“A woman took me to the hospital, they gave me medicine, I was vomiting and I had diarrhea, again and again, they admitted me to this room, they administered drip treatment, they gave me medicine, water and food, now I have recovered thank God,” a patient at the MSF clinic, Ya Bayaye Lawan said.

But efforts to contain the outbreak are also being hindered, as people fail to report suspected cases to the authorities. UNICEF health worker, Hadiza Gombo says the lifesaving vaccines will play a vital role in slowing down the spread of the disease.

“We do vaccinate people before the disease would attack them, and if the disease attacks them we do phone the hospital to come with their car without wasting time and admit them to the hospital for further treatment,” she said. Doctor Dominique Legros is an expert on cholera at the World Health Organisation (WHO)

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Oludare J. Olusan
Oludare J. Olusan 249 posts

Publisher, Entrepreneur, Author and founder of The African portal / Presenter at The African Portal Radio / TV

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