Yobe declares end of cholera

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Damaturu, June 14  :With more than 14 days since the last reported case of cholera, Yobe State Ministry of Health has declared that the outbreak is over on June 12.
The cholera outbreak initially reported in Gashua town of Bade local government area (LGA) with subsequent spread to Karasuwa, Jakusko, Yusufari and Bursari LGAs, abated with a case fatality ratio of 3.7 per cent in 404 cases, a WHO African Region report said on Thursday.
‘As we speak now, it has been more than 14 days without report of any suspected case of cholera in Yobe state,’ Commissioner for Health, Dr Mohammed Bello Kawuwa said.
When all suspected cholera cases turned negative through rapid diagnostic test (RDT), culture or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for a minimum period of two weeks, the outbreak can be considered ended.
Speaking to media practitioners in Damaturu, the state capital, the Commissioner commended World Health Organization’s (WHO) leadership and coordination of the health sector response. He disclosed that prior to the outbreak, WHO had trained a Rapid Response Team (RRT), which provided initial response to the outbreak as soon as the first cases were confirmed on March 28 last.
‘The multi-sectoral approach, swift response and effective health partner’s coordination by WHO has also shown that collaboration and partnership amongst all can produce positive, rapid result-oriented response to public health challenges,’ Dr Kawuwa said.
An intensified surveillance activity by WHO enabled early detection and reporting which informed targeted interventions. WHO surveillance system pinpointed locations where transmission was occurring and thus directed response efforts accordingly.
With an initial support from WHO, a cholera treatment centre (CTC) was established at the General Hospital in Gashua for case management. Other response activities conducted by WHO include water chlorination, laboratory testing and risk communication to empower communities with the right knowledge about cholera prevention.
Applauding the state health authority and partners for the achievement, WHO Representative (WR) to Nigeria Dr Wondimagegnehu Alemu cautioned that while controlling an outbreak in security-compromised areas like Yobe state in the northeast was a significant milestone, the onset of the rainy season in the region poses risk of future outbreaks. ‘We must be vigilant to the warning signs that could signal another outbreak of cholera or other epidemic-prone diseases,’ WR said.
Yobe is one of the states mostly affected by insurgency in the northeast. As a result, access to basic healthcare services is limited and many people, especially women and children are vulnerable. WHO and partners will continue to work towards improving access to basic health services, including to areas considered hard to reach.
The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and other partners, including UNICEF, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Spain, ACF International, the Nigerian Red Cross, and AFENET, participated in the control response.
UNI.