Lagos speaks on decline in Cholera cases

By Innocent Raphael

The Lagos State Government has announced a notable reduction in daily cholera cases following a recent spike, though it acknowledges continued low-grade community transmission, with a few cases still presenting at hospitals.

This update was provided by Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, during a briefing on the cholera outbreak after the ‘One Health’ inter-governmental agency strategic meeting held over the weekend.

Professor Abayomi reported that no new cholera-related deaths have been recorded in the past 72 hours, highlighting that the government’s intensified countermeasures are showing results.

“The reduction in new daily cases and the absence of new deaths indicate our interventions are effective, and residents are adhering to public health advice on safety measures and early presentation to health facilities,” said Abayomi.

However, Abayomi revealed a recent outbreak of 25 severe gastroenteritis cases at Kirikiri Medium Security Prison, confirmed to be caused by cholera. He assured that urgent medical and environmental interventions have been successfully implemented.

“We provided Kirikiri Medium Prison with intravenous fluids, infection prevention supplies, and other health consumables. Likewise, the World Health Organization (WHO) donated 10,000 doses of pharmaceuticals to support the prison’s health facilities, benefiting approximately 3,200 inmates if necessary.

“Immediate water and sanitation issues have been addressed, and inspections of other correctional facilities in the state are ongoing,” he stated.

“The source of the original outbreak, identified two weeks ago, has been traced to unregulated street beverages and contaminated water supplies. Environmental officers from the Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) and the Ministry of Health found the presence of vibrio cholera bacteria in samples from popular street beverages.

“None of the containers had NAFDAC accreditation numbers, indicating small, informal production units. Identifying the exact locations of manufacture has been challenging. The Directorate of Environmental Health plans to shut down any unregulated production and arrest those involved in manufacturing or distributing beverages without NAFDAC numbers,” Abayomi explained.

“In response, the state government, through its interagency ‘One Health’ approach, is enforcing strict environmental health measures. This includes widespread sanitation activities, inspection and disinfection of boreholes, supplying potable water to affected local governments, and stricter regulations on local beverage manufacturers.

“Moving forward, and as approved by Mr. Governor, we will implement and enforce higher sanitary and regulatory standards for eateries, food handlers, beverage manufacturers, and groundwater to curb food and waterborne diseases in Lagos,” Abayomi concluded.

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