The Society for Water and Sanitation (NEWSAN) on Thursday called on Nigerians to practice frequent hand washing and wash foods and vegetables thoroughly before consuming, to prevent cholera.
Its National Coordinator, Mr Benson Attah, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that it was worrisome that increasing cases of cholera had been reported in parts of the country.
Attah said citizens could prevent incidences of cholera around them by imbibing hygienic practices.
“Citizens themselves should be well sensitised about the channels of cholera infections, this is important for them to stick to the guidelines available.
“Cholera infection could come from water, foods, vegetables bought from anywhere, they should wash them well.
“Citizens should wash their foods and vegetables well; they should cover their water sources.
“They should imbibe the habit of regular hand washing; it is also possible for cholera outbreak to be caused by flood in some areas, these are parts of the impact of climate change in our environment.
“Even we can see that flood water could get into boreholes, as an impact of climate change to WASH, thereby increasing the level of water contamination and pollution of the environment,’’ he said.
According to Attah, there is need for state governments to take responsibility and stop denying the presence of cholera whenever it occurred.
He said calling cholera acute diarrhea would not help anyone and was misleading.
Attah said that deliberate efforts must be geared towards cholera prevention through adequate funding and emergency preparedness.
“States should declare that they have cholera so that their citizens should be safe, not that they have cholera and they call it acute diarrhea, this is misleading.
“States should provide all the necessary facilities that are needed to address cholera.
“They should stop waiting for NCDC and WHO, before intervening, that is why resources must be set aside at all times to address it.
“Some of these cases are escalating because states do not pay attention to it early enough.
“You could get to places and see that state hospitals don’t even have facilities in place to treat cholera cases.
“Usually, they wait for development partners and the Federal Government intervention team.
“State governments should take responsibility, provide water, medical supplies to the citizens, and the Federal Government is only intervening,” he said.
On NEWSAN’s effort on cholera interventions, Attah said mobilising state chapters to prepare for interventions in their states had commenced.
“Due to COVID, NEWSAN has not paid much attention to cholera, but two months ago, we have started mobilising state chapters to prepare for interventions in their states.
“They have identified cholera-prone communities and are working with stakeholders in their states.
“Follow – up meetings will be done to get feedback from the states and in addition to that, we have also been working with the WASH in Emergency Working team in the country to give advice when necessary,’’ he said.
The national coordinator however, urged state governments to ensure that cholera-prone areas had access to potable water, and follow it up with sensitisation at local areas.
Attah also called for routine checks on sources of water and reticulation processes as rusted pipes and water infrastructure might pollute water distributed to citizens. (NAN)