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…Health authorities, medical personnel comb rural areas

JuL, 2021 |  By Reuben Samuel Musa | ||

oving fast to quell the outbreak of cholera in Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Acting Secretary, FCT Administration (FCTA)'s Health and Human Services Secretariat (HHSS), Dr Mohammed Kawu, has kicked off advocacy visits to heads of various agencies and top management of stakeholder organizations involved in efforts to contain the menace. A representative of World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Furera Muhammed, was part of the delegation.

An outbreak of the disease was reported in some suburbs /urban slum communities in and around some of the Area Councils of FCT with suspected cases, as of last Saturday, rising to 515 and eight confirmed deaths. The Acting Secretary has met with top leadership of Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), FCT Water Board, and FCT Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA) to discuss possible solutions to stem the outbreak.

They also seek to create attitudinal change among the populace toward proper sanitation, hand wash and good food hygiene so as to improve health and well-being of FCT residents. During the meetings, Dr Kawu described cholera as an acute diarrheal disease that affects both children and adults causing nausea, vomiting, watery stooling and weakness in the process and could lead to death from dehydration, if not properly treated.

Given a situation report, Acting Director of Public Health Dr. Saddiq Abdulraheem said that the date of affected cases keeps changing ''and we are receiving reports on hourly and daily basis from the Area Councils.'' As of the day of the meeting, he said, HHSS had received communication on the scourge from five Area Councils with Abaji as the only Council not yet reported upon. It was learnt at the meeting too that HHSS has activated seven emergency operations centres for health management, word, laboratories and others.

Briefing the meeting, the Incident Manager, Dr Theresa Nwachukwu, disclosed that an action plan has been drafted while sensitization exercise has commenced across all affected communities with many of them visited already. According to her, a press briefing has taken place, at both ministerial and secretariat levels, to enlighten FCT residents and others on steps being taken just as top management of HHSS and medical experts have made several appearances on electronic media to carry the message of sensitization farther ''because it is a multi-sectoral disease.''

She added: ''Cholera, as we all know, is a disease that is as a result of poor sanitation of our environment and poor access to potable water supply among the urban slums in the Area Councils or in the city.'' Delivering an additional overview of the disease, Dr Nwachukwu explained that the disease is caused by bacteria that can be got from contaminated water, food or others. According to her, these micro organisms cause diarrhea and vomiting ''and is sometimes very bad while about 80% of persons affected die. if not properly managed.''

She identified some of the hot spots as poor water supply sources in communities as well as open defecation with bacteria from the latter ''washed in the stream water used by urban slum communities.'' The advocacy /sensitization meeting will continue in all Area Councils. Speaking later, Dr Kawu assured that the FCTA management is on top of the situation, assuring that with the effective approach adopted, the outbreak will be brought under control soon.

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