Cholera outbreak in Bauchi affected 39,795 people in 8 years — CSOs

A coalition of civil society organisations in Bauchi State has said that the state recorded a total of 39,795 cases of Cholera outbreak between 2010 and 2018 as 3.9 million people lack access to water, sanitation and hygiene facilities.

The Chairman, Coalition of Civil Society Organisations in the state, Sodaigi Chindo, made this known Thursday during a press conference in commemoration of the 2020 Global Handwashing Day with theme: ‘Driving political will to end cholera project in Bauchi’ which was organised in Bauchi by Women Development Association for Self Sustenance, WODASS, with support from WaterAid.

He lamented that Nigeria accounts for a large proportion of the cholera burden in Sub-Saharan Africa as the disease is prevalent and seasonal, occurring mostly during the rainy season and often in areas that lack clean water and sanitation.

“Despite the fact that great percentage of households access water wells and water vendors which are vulnerable to contamination, only 15% of households treat their water before drinking, while 84.7% do not carry out any form of treatment. (Also) 41.8% of households depend on wells, 42.5% have access to pipe-borne water, 13.6% have access to boreholes, while 4.0% get their water from water vendors.

“The recurrent outbreak of cholera in Bauchi State is largely attributed to indiscriminate waste (solid and liquid) disposal, inadequate clean water supply within Bauchi metropolis and its environs, and poor hygiene practices. Provision of safe water and sanitation among other things is critical to controlling the transmission of cholera, ending the epidemic and other waterborne diseases.

“About 71.7% of the state population do not have handwashing facilities with soap, and 77% of the population use traditional pit toilets, 13.5% use poor flush, 3.6% use water closet, 3.4 don’t use toilets while 0.75% use ventilated improved pit toilets,” he said.

He added that ending cholera and preventing the spread of COVID-19 in Bauchi State requires a multifaceted approach which includes improved political will and proactive government action, improved surveillance, water and sanitation interventions, hygiene promotion and social mobilisation.

Jos: 160,864 women enrol for family planning despite poor facilities

Appalling health facilities in many hospitals and clinics have forced women in dire need of family planning services to shun such hospitals, apparently to avoid contacting other health challenges.

One of the health facilities captured by Arewa Voice correspondent in Nasarawa Gwong in Jos North Local Government Area is reportedly in a bad shape, requiring urgent attention in order to save women and children from avoidable health hazards.

Amina Dauda, who used to access her health services from the clinic, has now stopped going th Gwong PHCere, complaining that the place is very filthy for anyone to use as a medical facility.

“The filth in the facility is annoying and every appointment I keep keeps in the facility reminds me that this place is not a hospital,” she told AV in an interview.

She is right. A visit to the compound vindicates her position as the compound is replete with dilapidated structure, broken down sewage emitting offensive odour despite the presence of many women and children in search of health services.

Speaking on the general collapse of infrastructure in facilities offering family planning and other services in the State, the Executive Secretary of the State Primary Healthcare Board, Dr. Livinus Miapkwap, State Family Planning Coordinator, Hannatu Dung, Head, Nasarawa Gwong Primary Healthcare Clinic, Mohammed Uba, a Caregiver in the facility, Lohya Andrew, State FP Programme Officer, Planned Parenthood Federation of Nigeria, Mado Edith blamed the development on lack of funds.

Over the years, family planning experts in the state have advocated for a separate budget line in the annual budget to effectively carry out activities due to the difficulties they encounter yearly in fund release. For instance, the sum of N5 million was budgeted in 2016 but released in 2018.

The sum of N23 million budgeted for health services in 2020 is yet to be released.

A family planning caregiver, Lohya Andrew noted: “This facility, which has existed for a very long time has a very poor sanitary condition coupled with lack of staff and medical consumables. “Right now, we are out of stock, before now, they used to bring them from Gombe once in two months. The last stock we received was in July for July and August; we expected a new batch in September but up till now, nothing has come in the form of supplies for us.”

But the Executive Secretary of the State Primary Health Care Board, Dr. Miapkwap, admitted that though the facilities were in bad shape it was the responsibility of local government areas to maintain them.

“It is just about a month or two ago that they moved all the primary healthcare centres to us so we collaborate with the local government to see how to fix things.

“That is why we always say that instead of building new ones, it is better to fix old ones. We have part of the budget for renovation but we have not gotten any approval for now,” the ES said..

Despite the poor state of facilities, Arewa Voice findings reveal that I60,864 women in the state have so far enrolled for family planning services despite the deplorable state of some of the health facilities.

SARS’ disbandment threat to Northern Nigeria — NEF raises alarm

The Northern Elders Forum, NEF, has described the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, a unit of the Nigeria Police Force, by the Federal Government as an ill-thought measure that poses a serious threat to the Northern part of the country and its people.

The Forum said what is needed to bring out the best in the Nigeria Police Force is a holistic overhauling to address challenges relating to shortfalls in its policing strategies.

In a statement signed by NEF spokesman, Hakeem Baba-Ahmad, made available to Arewa Voice, the group drew the attention of the Federal Government to what is called “the virtual non-existence” of security agencies to protect lives and properties of some communities in the Northern part of the country.

The statement read: “The Forum notes that this decision, SARS’ disbandment, should be placed in the context of the huge demands that had been made for the President to address serious shortfalls in our policing and security institutions.

“There have been many abuses that ought to have been checked by this and earlier administrations, but were ignored or treated with levity owing to very low levels of respect for accountability. It is a sad commentary on the manner this administration approaches sensitive matters such as security of citizens that it had to be forced into taking this decision after serious damage to the integrity and credibility of our policing and security institutions.

“The Forum reminds President Buhari that hundreds of thousands of people in Northern communities have been at the mercy of bandits, kidnappers and rustlers without any form of police protection.

“It is clear that many things are seriously wrong with our policing and security institutions if the same institutions will be accused of extra-judicial acts by some citizens, and virtual non-existence by other citizens.

“It is not acceptable that thousands of our fellow citizens in the North will be virtually abandoned to armed criminals and a vicious insurgency, and the Nigeria police will get a slap on the wrist for acts that go against the core of its mandate in other areas of its responsibility.

“The Forum demands that the spirit deployed against SARS should be visited on policing and securing the North. We further demand a complete overhaul of our policing and security agencies, starting with the removal of service chiefs and the involvement of responsible opinions and initiatives that will address the manner the nation is designed to be policed and secured.

“We appeal to fellow Nigerians to show the highest levels of restraint and maturity in the manner we organise the defence of our rights. Under no circumstances should we encourage acts that increase our exposure to crime, lawlessness and insecurity.”