Minister canvasses multi-sectoral approach to forestall cholera outbreak 

The Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof Muhammad Ali Pate, has called for a multi-sectorial approach to forestall outbreak of infectious diseases like Cholera, Typhoid Fever and Tuberculosis.

He said the approach should not only be biomedical which is curative, noting that many diseases are socially determined, hence, the right public policies must be put in place to provide social safety nets for vulnerable and poor people.

Speaking on Channels TV on Wednesday  (Today), The Minister said “There are many diseases that are socially determined; they are diseases of largely the population that are vulnerable and poor who live in inadequate housing, with low sanitation, who don’t have enough food, who are malnourished or whose occupation exposes them to certain disease conditions,” 

“So, to address population health, there is the biomedical which are certain diseases that we handle but there are some that go beyond that, and are multi-sectorial in terms of the determinant of why those diseases occur and how to respond to them.

“At the end of the day, we need to grow our economy, we need to translate that growth into incomes for households, we need to also build infrastructure; the base for the urbanisation that we are seeing so that people will have good housing, good nutrition, safe spaces, proper mental health, in addition to access to health facilities they can afford to get proper mental services.

“So, health is one thing that is not just a biomedical issue; there is health in almost all public policies, whether it is on housing, transportation, agriculture, environment, youths, even the gender dimension of it to ensure the women are not left behind, and there are vulnerabilities that will have to be addressed through social protection mechanism to ensure that there are safety nets for those who are left behind.

“It’s a whole of government and whole of society efforts that is necessary to improve the health and wellbeing of any population.”

The minister also said the Federal Government has mobilised resources to contain the spread of Cholera in the country.

Pate said a technical working group was activated through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to support states to reduce the transmission of the infectious disease and treat those who have been infected.

“We had anticipated the seasonal outbreak and months ago, the President approved contingency financing for the NCDC and that is what has been used so far, in addition to technical financing. The state also have a role to play to release their own funding,” he said.

“31 states are affected, 107 local governments are affected,” the health minister said, adding that about 1,500 Cholera cases have been recorded so far in the country.

Pate assured Nigerians that the Cholera outbreak would be minimised from spreading to more states and local government areas.

“We have to deal with open defecation,” he said, “so that faeces will not come in contact with food and water”.

“The Cholera outbreak is part of a global phenomenon. Cholera is a public health crisis and a disease that comes within the contact of contamination of food, water, poor sanisation, developmental challenges and deficit in infrastructure, open defecation prevalent in many parts of the country is fueling the outbreak,” he said.

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