By Florence Ugbem
Benue State Government has emphasised the need to carry-out more vigorous campaigns and sensitization on personal hygiene and open defecation in order to curtail and prevent the spread of cholera in the state.
Speaking during a courtesy call on the National Rapid Response Team for Cholera Outbreak from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the Deputy Governor, Benson Abounu said that: “We need to talk more, we need to go out, especially to the rural areas to convince them at this point in time on personal hygiene.”
Engr Abounu lamented the outbreak of cholera in the state, and stated that despite the vigorous campaigns carried out by the State Action Committee on COVID-19 which emphasised personal hygiene, provision of hand sanitisers, bucket stands in schools, hospitals, markets in the 23 local government areas in the state, it still witnessed cholera outbreak.
He commended the Rapid Response Team from NCDC for their prompt response to the cholera outbreak in some communities in the state, stating that the state government on its part, responded by treating infected persons, stopping the mortality rate and preventing further spread.
Speaking further, the deputy governor informed the team about the on-going construction of a diagnostic laboratory for testing of all kinds of infectious diseases.
The Team Leader of the Rapid Response Team, Dr Okechukwu Oradu, commended the state government for the proactive measures taken in handling the cholera outbreak in the state.
He stated that they are in the state to give the necessary support, and emphasized the need for more testing to be carried out and called for provision of potable water and public toilets to address open defeacation in the state.
In his remark, Team Lead, Field Presence, World Health Organisation (WHO) Nigeria, Dr Ahmed Muhammed, assured the deputy governor of providing a borehole at Abinsi in Guma Local Government Area, if given the necessary equipment.
As at 25 January, 2021, 201 cases of cholera were recorded, with 27 deaths recorded in the state. Three local government areas in the state; Guma, Agatu and Gwer West are the ones affected by cholera.
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