Nigeria: 816 Dies of Cholera in Seven Months

Eight hundred and sixteen people have died of cholera in Nigeria between January and the end of July this year, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) announced on Monday.
The Centre blamed the outbreaks and deaths on poor sanitation and access to potable water by people in the country.

About 31,425 suspected and 311 confirmed cases of the disease were recorded in 22 of the nation’s 36 states, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The states are Benue, Delta, Zamfara, Gombe, Bayelsa, Kogi, Sokoto, Bauchi, Kano, Kaduna, Plateau, Kebbi, Cross River, Niger and Nasarawa.

Others are Jigawa, Yobe, Kwara, Enugu, Adamawa, Katsina, Borno and the FCT.

Nigeria’s confirmed cholera cases so far this year are over 300 per cent more than what the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control reported for 31 countries under its watch between 2014 and 2018.

The Centre recorded 102 cases of cholera at the time, with the United Kingdom recording most of the cases.

In a statement mailed to The ICIR, NCDC said it had activated the National Cholera Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) across the most affected states to carry out emergency interventions, including the administration of reactive oral cholera vaccine (OCV).

But it said none of the medical interventions would solve the underlying issues leading to cholera outbreaks.

“Cholera is a waterborne disease, and the risk of transmission is higher when there is poor sanitation and disruption of clean water supply. The wrong disposal of refuse and practices such as open defecation endanger the safety of water used for drinking and personal use.

“These lead to the spread of waterborne diseases such as cholera. Nigeria remains at risk of cholera cases and deaths without proper water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). The long-term solution for cholera control lies in access to safe drinking water, maintenance of proper sanitation and hygiene,” NCDC said.

According to the United Nations Population Fund, only 26.5 per cent of Nigeria’s population use improved drinking water sources and sanitation facilities.

About 23.5 per cent of people in the country defecate in the open, the agency noted.

The World Bank said in 2019 that approximately 60 million Nigerians lived without access to basic drinking water services, and 80 million without access to improved sanitation facilities.

There were 167 million people in the country at the time without access to a basic handwashing facility.

In rural areas, 39 per cent of households lack access to at least basic water supply services.

According to the bank, only a half of people in rural communities have access to improved sanitation and almost a third (29 per cent) practise open defecation.

Due to poor sanitation and access to potable water, cholera has been an endemic and seasonal disease in Nigeria.

The NCDC reported in 2019 that the disease occurred in the country annually, mainly during the rainy season and more often in areas with poor sanitation.

The country reported its first series of cholera outbreaks between 1970 and 1990.

Major epidemics also occurred in 1992, 1995-1996, and 1997.

The Federal Ministry of Health reported 37,289 cases and 1,434 deaths between January and October 2010, while 22,797 cases of cholera with 728 fatalities and case-fatality rate of 3.2 per cent were recorded in 2011.

The country also recorded outbreaks of the disease in 2018, with the NCDC reporting 42,466 suspected cases, including 830 deaths.

There was a case fatality rate of 1.95 per cent from 20 out of 36 states from the beginning of 2018 to October 2018.

Why Men Must Suck Pregnant Partners’ Breasts Regularly

Agency Report

Staff of Amuwo Odofin Maternal and Child Centre (AOMCC) during the sensitisation and awareness programme to mark 2021 World Breastfeeding Week on Thursday in Lagos.

A Chief Nursing Sister, Roseline Oladimeji, has advised pregnant women to allow their husbands to suck their breasts to prepare them for breastfeeding after delivery.

Oladimeji gave the advice at a sensitisation programme marking the 2021 World Breastfeeding Week organised by Amuwo Odofin Maternal and Child Centre, Festac Town, Lagos, on Thursday.

“Allow your husband to suck your breasts during pregnancy. Apart from bonding, it will help the nipples to be out and make it easier for your baby to latch on.

“You can also rub vaseline on your nipples at night before going to sleep. It helps to soften it,” the nursing sister said.

She urged pregnant women to prepare their breasts during pregnancy to avoid lactation problems after delivery.

She added that the colostrum – the first form of milk produced by the mammary glands of mammals (including humans) immediately following delivery of the newborn – contains nutrients that help boost the baby’s immunity.

“It is still breast milk,” she said.

Oladimeji cautioned that certain food, herbs and medications could hurt babies if they cross into the breast milk.

She particularly noted that drinking palmwine to improve lactation could introduce alcohol into the baby’s system during breastfeeding.

Oladimeji further cautioned mothers seeking advice from people who are not qualified to take care of babies to avoid causing harm to their children.

Also, the hospital’s dietician, Ms Gbemisola Ogundipe, advised lactating mothers to ensure that they take balanced meals and lots of water to increase the volume and quality of their breast milk.

“A breastfeeding mother should have meat, fish, eggs and vegetables in her meals. She should also take a glass of juice or smoothies.

“She should increase her fluid intake and this can come in form of water, milk, yoghurt, ice cream and pap,” she said.

Ogundipe also cautioned women against weaning their babies before they get to one year because of the misconception that breast milk changes to blood when a child turns one year.

She said exclusive breastfeeding is not only beneficial to the babies but also to the mothers and their families, as it helps to take the mother to her pre-pregnancy weight and lessen financial pressure on families.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the theme of the 2021 WBW was, ‘Protect Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility’.

NAN reports that the World Health Organisation and UNICEF say that though there had been progress in breastfeeding rates in the last four decades, the rates in Nigeria reduce with age.

In a joint statement issued by the Director-General of WHO, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus; and the Executive Director of UNICEF, Henrietta Fore, they stated that rate of exclusive breastfeeding rose from 17 per cent in 2013 to 29 per cent in 2018.

They, however, said that the percentage of children breastfed within one hour of birth in Nigeria estimated at 42 per cent is still less than 50 per cent.

“Breastfeeding rates in Nigeria reduced with age – 83 per cent of the children are breastfed up to one year while 28 per cent are breastfeeding till two years.

“It will show that the proportion of the children who are not breastfeeding increases with age,” it said.