News

June 15, 2024

Cholera: Lagos confirms 15 deaths, 350 suspected cases in 29 wards

Cholera: Lagos confirms 15 deaths, 350 suspected cases in 29 wards

… intensifies efforts to control outbreak

By Chioma Obinna

The Lagos State Ministry of Health, on Saturday, confirmed 350 suspected cases of cholera in 29 wards across multiple LGAs in the state, with 17 confirmed cases and 15 deaths.

To this end, the state government, following the initial alert and advisory issued on the outbreak, has activated its Public Health Emergency Operations Centre (PHEOC) at Mainland Hospital, Yaba, Lagos. 
The PHEOC was convened to address the increasing number of severe gastroenteritis cases across multiple Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Lagos State.

In a press statement, the State Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, said: “The laboratory investigation and test results have so far confirmed cholera sub type O-1. This subtype is associated with more severe disease. The pattern of new cases per day varies across LGAs, according to our ongoing surveillance and monitoring updates.

“Although this is an increase from the numbers published 3 days ago, cases are now dramatically subsiding in previously affected LGAs due to our interventions and surveillance efforts, however, we are recording some new cases in previously unaffected LGAs, signalling the need for residents to adhere strictly to precautionary, personal, and environmental hygiene measures.”

Abayomi said the Directorate of Environmental Health of the Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency of the Ministry of Environment, have collected samples of water sources, food and beverage samples in all the affected LGAs, while inspections of facilities are ongoing.

“We are prepositioning cholera kits in health facilities across the state. Our efforts to control the outbreak also include the distribution of Oral Rehydration Solutions (ORS) and public health education campaigns.”

Abayomi noted that the State Government Ministry of Health high-level team just concluded a meeting with the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr. Jide Idris, and his team, as well as key partners from the World Health Organisation (WHO), to ensure all interventions are optimised.

He urged residents to support the state government’s efforts by adhering strictly to precautionary measures, cooperating with health authorities, and participating in community-wide sanitation activities to mitigate the spread of cholera, particularly as the Eid-al-Adha celebration approaches.

“During this Ileya festive season, residents are advised to drink safe water, cook food thoroughly, maintain personal hygiene, wash hands regularly, use sanitiser, and avoid overcrowded places. Reporting symptoms like watery diarrhoea or vomiting immediately is also crucial to save lives and preventing transmission to other members of the community. Treatment for suspected cholera is provided free of charge at all government facilities as part of the government’s standard public health response,” he said.

While acknowledging the leadership role being played by the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, towards mitigating the outbreak, the Commissioner applauded the technical support being provided by national and international organisations, including the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), World Health Organisation (WHO), and UNICEF, towards the response.

“The Lagos State Government, through the Ministry of Health, with support from our partners, is intensifying efforts to control the outbreak. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide regular updates. Residents are advised to stay informed and adhere to public health advisories to ensure their safety and well-being during this period,” he added.