It has been disclosed that in 2018, Cholera outbreak in Bauchi state claimed a total of 28 lives due to lack of access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services particularly in the rural areas where open defecation is very rampant.
This disclosure was made in Bauchi on Tuesday during a press conference held as Bauchi state joins others to mark the 2019 World Toilet Day powered by the Society for Water and Sanitation (NEWSAN).
NEWSAN which is supported by WaterAid Nigeria revealed the figures in a document it released tagged: ‘Driving Political Will to End Cholera in Bauchi State’, in commemoration of the 2019 World Toilet Day in Bauchi adding that 9,725 cholera cases were recorded in the state within the same period.
According to the document, 16 out of 20 wards and 8 other Local Government Areas recorded at least 1 case of cholera each stating that, “The recurrent outbreaks of cholera in Bauchi State is largely attributed to indiscriminate waste (solid and liquid) disposal, inadequate clean water supply within Bauchi metropolis and its environs and poor hygiene practices” .
The document further contained that, ” Provision of safe water and sanitation among other things, is critical to controlling the transmission of cholera, ending the epidemic and other waterborne diseases,”.
NEWSAN revealed that typical at-risk areas include peri-urban slums and camps for internally displaced persons where minimum requirements of clean water and sanitation are not met adding that certain risk factors generally identified could increase transmission or outbreaks of cholera in Bauchi state.
It added that some of the factors include limited access to safe water from the public water supply system, broken pipes and leakages, prevalent poor hygiene practices like no handwashing with soap and water, open defecation and indiscriminate refuse dump sites and unprotected wells as major sources of drinking water.
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It further stated that ending cholera in Bauchi state requires a multifaceted approach and improved political will and proactive government action, a blend of surveillance, Water and Sanitation interventions, hygiene promotion and social mobilization and treatment use.
“To have a cholera free state, we ask the government to review relevant state policies and budgets to adequately reflect cholera prevention strategies as well as update and implement cholera prevention plans and ensure allocated funds for cholera prevention are released and implemented accordingly to reduce over-dependence on donor agencies”, it advised.
NEWSAN concluded that ” Strengthen capacities of urban, small towns and rural public water supply networks to contribute to capacity development for cholera prevention and ensure routine sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene interventions are provided in cholera hotspot communities and affected LGAs, especially those with epidemic trends”.