Cholera outbreak claims 12 lives in Ogun

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An outbreak of cholera has claimed the lives of at least 12 people in Ogun State.

The State Government on September 17 informed residents in Ijebu North Local Government Area of of the cholera outbreak, popularly known as “Aarun n gbá méj.

Ogunwatch gathered that  the outbreak then extended to the state capital’s Abeokuta North and Abeokuta South LGs.

Out of the approximately 246 instances so far reported, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Tomi Coker, has already confirmed 12 fatalities.

This information was provided by the Commissioner during a cholera epidemic report shortly after a stakeholders’ meeting was held at the ministry in Abeokuta.

The cholera outbreak, according to Coker, an obstetrician and gynaecologist trained in the UK, is being fueled by “high levels of open defecation, poor waste management, and poor water source.

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Unfortunately, we have a report of 246 cases and there has been at least about 12 deaths, which brings us to fatality rate of 44.6 percent.

This is slightly high for a state like ours because we are educated. And from what we found out that’s actually promoting the cholera outbreak is the fact that there’s high level of open defecation in Ogun State. 

It started in Ijebu North Local Government where we have 217 cases, but now we have more reports. We have some from Abeokuta North last week. We have two reports from Abeokuta South.”

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Coker claimed that the government has started chlorinating wells in Ijebu North, the LG hardest affected by the sickness, in an effort to stop the outbreak.

She added that in order to stop the disease from spreading, the Ministry of Health is working with the Ministry of the Environment and other pertinent Ministries, Departments, and Agencies.

It is unfortunate that our people still engage in open defecation, unaware that fecal materials enter shallow wells, which many of them use as water sources. For instance, in Ijebu-North Local Government, we found 52 shallow wells and microbiological testing revealed that 75 percent of these wells had evidence of fecal contamination with coliform bacteria.

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We will work with our colleagues in the Environment Ministry to ensure sanitation, promote the use of appropriate sanitary facilities in homes, and construct sanitary wells. These wells should be well-built and less likely to be contaminated by fecal material, especially during the period of incessant rainfall and flooding, which washes fecal material into our water sources”, she explained.

She cautioned, however, that the government might seal residences without toilets in the interest of public health. She also asked inhabitants of the State to avoid open defecation and to build inexpensive toilets and sanitary wells in their homes.

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