By Rose Audu
Following the recent cholera outbreak in Nigeria, the Federal government, through the Federal ministry of environment flagged off campaign of national environmental sanitation on Monday so as to prevent further spread and contain the disease.
While briefing the media at the event, the Minister of Environment, Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Olumuyiwa Enitan, said the latest cholera report from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) which showed a total number of 37,498 suspected cases including 1,149 deaths in 24 states and FCT and the increasing number of new cases in, Zamfara, Bauchi, Kano, Gombe, Plateau, Niger, and the FCT prompted the government to take the steps to tackle the scourge.
According to the minister, the NCDC data released on the 17th August, 2021 “indicated a total number of 37,498 suspected cases including 1,149 deaths in 24 states and FCT (Benue, Delta, Zamfara, Gombe, Bayelsa, Kogi, Sokoto, Bauchi, Kano, Kaduna, Plateau, Kebbi, Cross River, Niger, Nasarawa, Jigawa, Yobe, Kwara, Enugu, Borno, Kastina, Adamawa, Taraba and FCT, Abuja) with increasing number of new cases in, Zamfara, Bauchi, Kano, Gombe, Plateau, Niger, and Abuja FCT”.
“It is against this background today’s event is being organised to flag off our response activities to the increasing rate of spread of Cholera cases across the country, sensitise the general public on cholera preventive and control measures to avert further outbreaks and strengthen collaboration with NCDC and other stakeholders in tackling the cholera scourge.”
Abubakar said that over the years, the Federal Ministry of Environment in collaboration with stakeholders cutting across government at all levels, organised private sector, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Community Based Organisations (CBOs), Academia, Development Partners, has taken steps to deliver adequate sanitation and hygiene services to the citizenry.
“Despites all these efforts, the country continues to suffer from cholera epidemic and other sanitation and hygiene enabled diseases every year.”
The minister blamed the failure of the various interventions on poor attitude towards environmental sanitation and hygiene practices.
In responding to the recent cholera outbreak, the Federal Ministry of Environment immediately activated the Sanitation Desks in the 36 State Ministries of Environment and FCT urging them to carry out environmental sanitation activities in their various states aimed at containing the outbreak.
According to him, the flag off exercise of the National Environmental Sanitation Response Intervention to Cholera Outbreak in Kubwa, Abuja which is currently the epi-centre in the FCT, the ministry in collaboration with relevant stakeholders including Environmental Health Officer’s (EHO’s) in the states and local Government Areas has commenced the nationwide intervention response activities covering the following areas:
1. Sanitary inspection of premises/Environmental Health Surveillance of hotspot communities.
2. Treatment of contaminated water sources/sites.
3. Strengthening capacity of Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) in the State Ministries of Environment and the affected LGAs.
4. Sanitary inspection of food business premises of affected communities .
5. Advocacy, Sensitisation and Community Town Hall meetings on control of Open Defecation practices and its health impact.
6. Sanitary inspection of Schools (Primary & Secondary) in affected communities.
7. Training of community volunteers on safe water handling, environmental sanitation and hygiene practices.
8. Working with the State and Local Governments to ensure enforcement
of relevant Environmental Sanitation Laws, Standards, Regulations and Guidelines in all the communities.
The minister called on well-meaning Nigerians, Government, NG0s, CBOs, Development Partners, individuals and community leaders, including the media organisations to collaborate with the Federal Ministry of Environment and other stakeholders as partners in progress, in implementing environmental sanitation programs to control and prevent the spread of cholera outbreak.