As part of its effort to combat public health challenges, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said it has given assistance to the Delta State Public Health Emergency Operations Centre (PHEOC) to begin its investigation and response activities, 27th January 202U;’ 1, following a notification of 26 cases of frequent watery diarrhea and vomiting including 6 deaths in Tuomo and Ogulagha communities of Burutu LGA.
According to WHO, the aid is targeted at building a robust multi-sectoral coordination mechanism to the response, involving the Ministries of Environment and Water Resources. WHO assisted the state in monitoring the disease trend which currently indicates the outbreak being on a steady decline.
WHO has also supported the state in strengthening surveillance, training of health care workers on appropriate case management, provision of medication and other supplies, distribution of appropriate IEC
Further investigation revealed that the main source of drinking water in the affected communities during the dry season, a nearby river, was most likely contaminated with faeces and refuse.
Samples were taken from some of the cases for laboratory investigations. Results from tests carried out on stool and water samples collected were positive for bacterium, Vibrio cholerae of the Ogawa serotype 139. Subsequent test reports however indicate that the outbreak is on a steady decline. As of 18 February 2021, a total of 481 cases with 28 deaths had been reported in Burutu LGA with a case fatality ratio of 5.8%. 63% of the cases are below five years of age. This LGA had last reported a cholera outbreak in February 2019 with 9 cases and no deaths.
To stem to the tide of Cholera, WHO has supported the State government in sensitizing the community on the cause of the disease, the preventive measures and the need for immediate reporting and treatment.
Chief Tamani Andrew, a participant at the sensitization session, who is also the Amayanabor of Tuomo community in Burutu LGA in Delta state said, “my community has been confronted with an outbreak of a disease, causing frequent watery stooling, vomiting and death in some people. We are now educated on the cause of the outbreak and what measures should be taken to stop the spread of the disease and prevent future occurrence.”
Expressing immense gratitude for WHO’s support in containing the outbreak, Delta State Commissioner for Health, Dr Mordi Onoye, says ‘WHO has once again proven to be a formidable partner to the Delta state government in the response to all health emergencies and in strengthening health systems in general’.