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Cholera outbreak: FCTA allays fears as 8 die

JuL, 2021 |  By Samuel Reuben Musa and Badaru Yakasai | ||

Department of Public Health of Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA)'s Health and Human Services Secretariat (HHSS) has moved to allay fears of further degeneration of the situation, assuring FCT residents that teams of specialist personnel have been dispatched to affected areas to contain the rainy season outbreak even as it sought citizen buy-in through fruit and food hygiene and other methods. Addressing newsmen in his office, Acting Secretary, HHSS, Dr. Mohammed Kawu, said that as of June 23, no fewer than seven deaths and 91 suspected cases had been recorded. He explained that the sporadic outbreak in the rainy season could be as a result of the leaking of sewage into drinking waterways or from contamination of food matters by bacteria. According to him, 50 per cent of the cases, if not treated, could lead to death. Dr. Kawu recalled that from May, 2012, FCTA began to receive reports of sporadic cases of gastroenteritis in some communities in the Territory such as Wassa IDP camp, Dei Dei, Zuba, Shenagun and Kubwa, located within three Area Councils of the Territory---Abuja Municipal, Bwari and Gwagwalada Area Councils. He added: "As of June 23, a total of 91 suspected cases have so far been recorded with seven deaths in the Municipal Area Council and no death in Gwagwalada and Bwari Area Councils. Out of these, three of the cases tested positive for cholera using the rapid diagnostic test kit." The Acting Secretary, however, assured residents that the secretariat, through its Public Health Department, has intensified surveillance in the communities and health facilities aside directing leadership of Area Councils to do same. According to him, "We have prepositioned some rapid diagnostic test kits, drugs and consumables in some of our health facilities that have reported cases and we are in the process of distributing these commodities to the remaining health facilities including some key primary health facilities." He added that community sensitization on preventive measures is presently ongoing but urged FCT residents to report any case of diarrhea disease to the nearest health facility or the Department of Public Health. "Ensure that the water used for domestic purposes is clean, boiled and or filtered. Ensure that all foods are properly cleaned and well-cooked before consumption. Ensure that waste, especially fecal waste, are hygienically disposed off. Improve on general personal hygiene," Kawu said. Furthermore, Kawu also assured residents that there is no evidence of any contamination of water from FCT Water Board and called on them (residents) not to panic as the Administration, through the HHSS, has deployed increased manpower levels to combat the epidemic. Speaking earlier, Acting Director of, Public Health Dr. Saddiq Abdurrahman, said cholera outbreak has already emerged in FCT in about five communities of AMAC, Bwari and Gwagwalada Area Councils. He added that cholera is feco-oral with transmission mainly through eating or drinking food items that are contaminated with fecal matter or sewage. The director said emphasis should be on the general public promptly reporting all suspected diarrhea cases to the nearest health facility. Alternatively, he noted that residents should call Public Health Department on the following numbers: Dr Doris John (FCT state epidemiologist) on 08033156560, Dr Abdurrahman on 08037051784 and Hajiya Fati Ahmad (state disease surveillance and notification officer) on 08056015425. He stated that cholera disease outbreaks are seasonal, especially during periods of heavy rain downpour that could wash away waste into surface waters, stressing that open defecation must be discouraged to reduce fecal contamination of water and food.

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