The Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Chikwe Ihekweazu has declared that cholera infections is dangerously spreading across the country.
Indeed, he disclosed that it has so far claimed more lives than COVID-19 from January till date.
Ihekweazu, who raised the alarm while addressing the media on Thursday in Abuja, charged governments at all levels to commit resources to contain cholera outbreak, as it has become more disastrous than the coronavirus pandemic.
He said, “As much as we focus on COVID-19, we must remind ourselves that cholera is a disaster in the country right now.
“It has caused more deaths than the coronavirus this year. We have recorded over 31,000 cases with 816 deaths.”
He urged Nigerians to boil and treat water before use, adding that all hands must be on deck to ensure total eradication of open defecation which is a major driver of water pollution.
According to him, 22 states including the FCT have so far recorded cases of cholera.
He said, “We need to encourage state governments to invest on water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructures. Both the rich and poor are in trouble with this outbreak because we all rely on borehole water.
“With this outbreak, we need to do more to save lives as much as we did for people with COVID-19.”
Speaking further, Ihekweazu noted that Nigeria is currently in the third wave of the coronavirus as confirmed cases continue to rise on daily basis.
He explained that while the virus is spreading fast through the Delta variant, non-compliance to non-pharmaceutical measures is also a factor driving the increase.
According to him, over 80 percent of infection recorded lately are Delta variant.
“In preparation for the third wave, we acknowledge that our health system is not very strong, hence the need for everyone to continue to adhere to the non-pharmaceutical measures, to ensure that our systems are not overwhelmed,” he added.
The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Faisal Shuaib said that the government is ready to flag-off the second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination across the country on 16 August.
According to him, the government today, will be taking receipt of the additional 176,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson out of the 29,850,000 doses procured from the AFREXIM Bank through the African Union.