Cholera vigilance in Enugu at its peak– Epidemiologist

Enugu State’s Epidemiologist, Dr Ogbodo Okechukwu, says the state is committed  to preventing and preparing for potential cholera outbreaks.

Okechukwu spoke on the sidelines of the Training Workshop to Support States’ Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Emergency Working Group in Enugu.

He said the state had adopted a proactive approach, focusing on public awareness through communication and education regarding hygiene practices and the significance of consuming clean, potable water.

Okechukwu, who is also a Consultant Public Health Physician, said that the state government prioritised disease prevention, promptly responding to suspected cases by isolating individuals and reporting to national authorities for further investigation.

According to him, the last recorded incident of cholera epidemic dates back to 2022, with no reported outbreaks during subsequent rainy seasons.

Highlighting the state’s preparedness efforts as cost-effective, Okechukwu noted the relatively minimal impact of last year’s cholera cases compared to other states in the federation.

He said through engaging stakeholders and enforcing anti-open defecation laws, the government had also taken measures to improve water infrastructure, including the drilling of boreholes and repairing pipes.

According to him, the government is pumping of over 70 million litres of water daily.

“The state has also implemented a community informant system, empowering local members to actively survey and report potential cases, particularly instances of abnormal stooling.’’

Okechukwu said that since taking charge, major incidents of Lassa fever and cholera had significantly reduced.

He added that in partnership with the Federal government, the state actively sought antiviral drugs for Lassa fever treatment and registering healthcare workers digitally.

The public health expert said that the emphasis on prevention and swift response had remained central to the  state’s strategy, effectively curtailing the spread of contagious diseases.

The WASH in Emergency Working Group was established in 2012, when the country experienced serious devastating flood that affected 85 million people from 14 states.

The group has since remained active, especially in the North-East where IDPs exist and have responded immediately on outbreaks.

The membership cuts across WASH sector players from Institutions, Development Partners, International and Local NGOs, CSOs responding to WASH issues in the country, with UNICEF as its co-lead.


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