LASG in good control of Cholera outbreak- Health Commissioner

By Innocent Raphael

The Lagos Government has assured residents that the current outbreak in the state is well under control .

Speaking at a press briefing on Monday, Prof. Akin Abayomi, Commissioner for Health reeled out the timeline of the outbreak alongside measures put in place and general precautionary measures for citizens.

According to him, while there’s a reported 579 suspected cases of cholera, laboratory confirmation has been received for 43 cases, resulting in 29 deaths due to late discovery and severe dehydration in the cases of the latter

He added that the majority of suspected cases are distributed among General hospitals (209) and primary health care centers (193), with the rest being handled by other private health centres..

Abayomi further revealed the following measures that have been put in place by the state government to curb the outbreak:

Free Treatment: All patients in general hospitals are receiving free treatment.

Active Case Searching: The Ministry of Health is actively searching for potential cholera cases among the population.

Public Awareness: Citizens are being educated on cholera, a contagious waterborne and foodborne disease, with symptoms including diarrhea and vomiting leading to severe dehydration. Oral rehydration therapy (ORT), available at pharmacies and for home preparation, is recommended for non-vomiting patients.

Facility Inspections: The Ministry of Health and Directorate of Environmental Health are inspecting facilities in affected areas and distributing Oral Rehydration Solutions (ORS).

School Measures: Schools have been provided with water, ORS, and sanitation managers. Teachers are trained to handle potential cases, and food vendors and toilet facilities are regularly checked.

Outbreak Timeline and Causes

According the commissioner, the first case was identified on June 5th, with a notable increase to 14 cases by June 8th and a full outbreak by June 10th. Numbers declined between June 11th and 15th due to proactive measures taken during the Ileya period.

He also noted that since the resumption of the school calendar in the state, no new cases have been reported.

Speaking on the areas affected by the outbreak, he revealed that while the most affected areas included Lagos Island and Kosofe LGAs, Ifako Ijaiye, Amuwo Odofin, and Ibeju Lekki are the least affected.

Collaboration and Ongoing Efforts

In his speech, the commissioner revealed that the emergency operation center is actively collecting samples and adopting a one-health approach in response to the outbreak.

He added that Teachers and food handlers are being sensitized, and school clinics have been linked to hospitals. Hygiene practices, such as the use of sanitizers, are being promoted among students.

He also acknowledges the partnership of several organizations, including the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Nigeria Red Cross, and Nigeria Institute of Medical Research (NIMR).

Future Precautions

Citizens are advised to avoid unregistered beverages, ensure their food is properly cooked, and maintain good hygiene practices. In response to questions, Commissioner Akin Abayomi mentioned the ongoing testing of the Oral Cholera Vaccine, which is currently only available in private hospitals.

Education Sector Response

Commissioner for Basic Secondary Education, Jamiu Alli Balogun in his remarks, detailed the preventive mechanisms in place for schools, including the provision of water, monitoring of food vendors and toilet facilities, and the training of teachers.

He added that no cases of cholera have been reported in schools so far, thanks to these comprehensive measures.

Also in attendance at the press conference, were other key government and health officials including; Mrs. Anike Anikoyi, Permanent Secretary of Education District 2; Mrs. Aminat Sani, Acting Director General of Education Assurance; Ridwan Yahaya, Director Rapid Response Research and Disease Control; Kemi Ogunyemi, Special Assistant to the Governor on Health; and Gbenga Omotosho, Commissioner for Information and Strategy.

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