Lagos State Commissioner of Health, Jide Idris
The Federal Government has said the 134 cases of cholera recorded in Lagos State was caused by contaminated African Salad.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Ambassador Sani Bala, said this on Monday in Abuja.
He spoke during a joint press briefing with a Non-Governmental Organisation, WaterAid Nigeria, in commemoration of this year’s first United Nations endorsed World Toilet Day with the theme, “The rural meet the urban sanitation.”
Between September and October this year, an estimated 2,771 cases and 124 deaths were reported, with case fatality rate of 4.5 per cent of cholera recorded as of November 12.
But Bala said the yearly occurrence of cholera could be stopped “if there is a mechanism to stop open defecation which will prevent contamination of water sources and foods that are major causes of cholera in the country.”
He said, “Reports from the 14 states affected by the cholera and gastroenteritis outbreak indicated that indiscriminate open defecation practice and lack of toilet facilities, which contaminated water sources and foods, were the major causes of cholera in these states.
“For instance, most of the cases of cholera in Lagos State were caused by eating contaminated salad, while Zamfara State, which recorded 1,000 cases with 50 deaths, was due to consumption of water that have been heavily contaminated with faecal matters.”
Also speaking, the Country Representative of Water Aid Nigeria, Dr. Michael Ojo, represented by the organisation’s Head of Governance, Ms. Tolani Busari, said 37 million Nigerians (23 per cent of the population) still practised open defecation, while about 100,000 children under the age of five died of diarrhoea every year.
She said, “The deadline for the world to meet its Millennium Development Goals is now only two years away, yet in Nigeria, only 31 per cent of the population has access to improved sanitation – this means about 112 million Nigerians do not have access to improved sanitation.
“A staggering 37 million (23 per cent of the population) still practice open defecation. Nearly 100,000 children under the age of five die of diarrhoea in Nigeria every year as a result of the nation’s poor levels of access to sanitation and water.
“It is not just about the unhygienic conditions; without a private toilet women and girls are vulnerable to violence, intimidation and indignity. Lack of decent sanitation also affects productivity and livelihoods.
“Women and girls living in Nigeria without toilet facilities spend 3.1 billion hours each year finding a place to toilet in the open.”
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