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Ogun Govt confirms 25 cholera cases, 1 death in 7 LGA

The Ogun state government has confirmed 25 cases of Cholera in seven local government areas of the state, with one casualty from Ijebu North local government in the Ogun East Senatorial district of the state.

The state commissioner for health, Dr Tomi Coker, gave the figure in Abeokuta, the state capital during a press briefing held at the Olusegun Osoba press centre in the state capital.

She said free surveillance and emergency treatment have been activated in all 20 local government areas of the state.

She identified Abeokuta South, Abeokuta North, Obafemi/ Owode, Ijebu North, Ado, Odo/ OTA local government areas as the most hit by the disease.

While assuring the general public of the preparedness of the state government and its development partners, she, however, asked residents to maintain a high level of personal and public hygiene to contain the spread of the disease.

“The Ogun State Government is cognisant of these threats hence we are at all times prepared for outbreaks and other Diseases of public health importance. Our robust preparedness and our resolve to protect the lives and health of all residents have helped minimise the impact of the Cholera Outbreak in the state in comparison to many other states in Nigeria.

“At the inception, we received the alert on June 12th, 2024, about the first 2 cases. Both cases tested positive with a Cholera rapid diagnostic kit and were managed at the State Hospital, Ota. The 2 cases had travel history to Lagos state 24hrs before presentation, as of today 24th, June 2024, Ogun state has recorded 25 suspected cases of Cholera in 7 LGAs namely, Adoodo/Ota, Remo North, Odeda, Sagamu, Ijebu North, Ewekoro, and Obafemi Owode,  with 9 confirmed case and unfortunately, 1 death.

“Consequent upon these findings, it is imperative to declare an ongoing Cholera Outbreak in Ogun State.

“Before this outbreak, as part of the state preparedness, a robust surveillance system was in place in all 20 local government authorities which ensured prompt detection of cases.

“The initial 8 cases originated from Lagos state the reported epicentre of the Cholera outbreak and a state that shares a border with 4 of our local governments. The 8 cases had travel history to Lagos and 6 of them reported taking tiger nut drink while in Lagos.  Furthermore, we also promptly diagnosed cholera in 5 of the contacts of the patients with a travel history to Lagos State.

To support the state response, she said the state Epidemiology unit is on high alert, adding that all LGA Disease Surveillance and Notification Officers have also intensified surveillance across all 20 LGAs.

“Our private health facilities and citizens have been sensitized to heighten their index of suspicion and report any suspected case immediately to the LGA DSNO, and the State response Team by calling the following phone numbers 08038642812, 07034214893, and 08084250881.

“All our 20 LGAs have trained rapid-response teams ready to respond to your call at short notice in collaboration with Ogun State Emergency and Ambulance Service.

“Also, cholera test kits and other consumables needed for treatment have been distributed to all LGAs and designated treatment centres to ensure prompt diagnosis and treatment. The treatment of Cholera is free across all government facilities in Ogun State.

“Ogun State Ministry of Health is coordinating this outbreak response in collaboration with stakeholders from the Ministry of Environment, Information, and Education, WES at the LGA (water, environment, and sanitation), RUWATSAN (Rural water and sanitation), Water cooperation, Private hospital owners, Emergency services (OGSAES) and partners.

“The Emergency Operations Centre was activated earlier and is now in the response mode, tracking evolving situations and acting accordingly. Each ministry’s Departments and agencies involved in the response are carrying out its statutory responsibilities to curtail and control the outbreak. The Ministry of Environment and LGA Waste and Environmental Sanitation department is carrying out activities to curb open defecation and improve environmental hygiene.”

“Cholera sensitisation materials are being shared via all electronic platforms including social media, Radio, and Television.  The Ministry of Information and the risk communication pillar of the EOC are working hard to engage the public on prevention practices, good hygiene, and sanitation.”

“Medications and essential consumables have been prepositioned at LGAs and other strategic health facilities to provide hitch-free, quality treatment that is free in all government health facilities.

“Some of its LGAs have been identified as high-risk LGAs and hotspots in Ogun state, these are Abeokuta South, Abeokuta North, Ijebu North, Obafemi Owode, Ifo, and Adoodo Ota.

“As a way of warning, the Risk factors for cholera include eating contaminated food and drink, unhygienic sanitary conditions, and poor personal hygiene,” the statement added.

Presentation of  Cholera is diarrhoea with or without vomiting. Cholera can cause severe acute watery diarrhoea which can kill within hours if left untreated. It takes between 12 hours and 5 days for a person to show symptoms.

The Prevention and Control of Cholera in a multifaceted approach is key with a combination of surveillance, portable water, sanitation and hygiene, social mobilisation, treatment, and oral cholera vaccines used.

She however called for a high level of personal and environmental hygiene among residents.

“Our Expectation from the public is Proper personal hygiene ( particularly Hand Hygiene), Washing food/fruits/vegetables properly before eating, Drink only clean water (Boil if the source is not trusted), Discourage Open defaecation, cook food thoroughly, go to the nearest health facility if you pass watery stool more than twice within 8 hours and report any suspected case in your locality. Please call the following phone numbers 08038642812, 07034214893, and 08084250881,” she added.

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Lagos to convert General Hospital to eye centre

The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, says the state government will designate one of its general hospitals as a centre for ophthalmic specialty to improve care for patients with eye conditions.

Abayomi said this during the 4th Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference of the Africa Retina Society on Thursday in Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event was themed, “Upscaling Retinal Services in a Resource-Constrained Economy.”

Abayomi said the centre would provide a world-class diagnostic, medical, surgical and ophthalmic services in Lagos and Nigeria.

He stressed that the state would prioritise eye health, noting that the state was working on developing screening capacity of all its primary healthcare facilities to detect eye diseases early.

“The conditions that affect the eyes very much reflect the conditions of the community in which you live. HIV, for example, was a major problem in South Africa, and I certainly experienced the impact of HIV on our day-to-day medicine and practice.

“Here in Nigeria, we have other things. We have hypertension, diabetes, sickle cell, and lots of trauma. These are the kinds of things that we see in our clinics here in Lagos and in Nigeria.

“We need to be able to understand how these prevailing conditions really affect us,” he said.

The commissioner further said that efforts are ongoing to promote eye screening, especially in schools, starting with the training of teachers to detect students exhibiting challenges with their vision.

He added that the state would leverage the social health insurance to screen, detect and treat eye diseases as patients presents at health facilities.

The commissioner further said the state would strengthen public awareness and understanding on eye health, especially glaucoma and visual acuity.

Abayomi disclosed that the state through its Ministry of Health had forged a partnership with the Chagoury Group
to develop a specialist eye hospital in Lagos to boost access to eye services.

He acknowledged that ophthalmology was equipment-intensive, stressing that government would pay attention to that and human resources to enable practitioners make appropriate diagnosis, and treatment to reverse medical tourism.

Earlier, Prof. Linda Visser, Head, Division of Ophthalmology Stellenbosch University, South Africa, called on policy makers to formulate policies that would integrate eye screening into diabetes care from the primary healthcare level, noting that cases of diabetic retinopathy was on the increase among Africans.

Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a chronic progressive disease of the retinal capillaries (small blood vessels) associated with prolonged raised blood glucose levels in people with diabetes.

Visser cited data from International Diabetes Foundation that showed that 537 million adults aged 20 to 79 years are living with diabetes globally, a number that was predicted to reach 1.3 billion in 50 years.

“The high prevalence of type 2 diabetes continues to rise worldwide and is particularly rapid in low- and middle income countries.

“Most of these countries have limited availability and affordability of healthcare services for screening and treating diabetes-related complications, such as retinopathy, to prevent vision loss,”

According to her, all persons with diabetes are at risk of developing DR, however, those with poor blood glucose and blood pressure management and hyperlipidaemia are most at risk.

Visser, Past President, Vitreoretinal Society of South Africa, emphasised that early detection would lead to timely treatment of DR, which could prevent 95 per cent of vision impairment and blindness.

Also, Dr Asiwome Seneadza, Chairman, Africa Retina Society, said that the theme was timely and critical as efforts are made to navigate the complexities and challenges in delivering advanced retinal care across the continent.

Seneadza said, “That’s why we are advocating for improved diabetes care and regular retinal screening made available and accessible for every individual living with diabetes,” he said.

Similarly, Prof. Bassey Fiebai, Chairman, Vitreo Retinal Society of Nigeria, said the meeting was critical to proffering solutions to the challenge of offering standard retina care, improving outcomes and reducing visual loss from retina related disorders among low to medium income countries.

Fiebai said that the government plays a critical role in providing funding, training of personnel, provision of equipment to improve screening, detection and treatment of retinopathy disease.

The professor noted that retina specialists are few in Nigeria, placing the figure at about 100, stressing that it was inadequate to cater to the teeming population who require eye care.

“Right now in the country, we have just a little over 100 retina specialists. And we know that the population of Nigeria is about 230 million.

“So we’re looking at a situation in which one retina specialist is supposed to cater for 2.3 million people. How does anyone cope?” she queried.

NAN reports that the Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference of the Africa Retina Society which began on June 26 to June 28, had participants from various African countries brainstorm on enhancing retinal care.


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Cholera outbreak: Tinubu sets up presidential committee to oversee emergency operation centre

President Bola Tinubu has directed the setting up of a presidential committee to oversee the Cholera Emergency Operation Centre, operated by the National Centre For Disease Control.

The Minister of Health, Ali Pate, made this known on Tuesday after the Federal Executive Council meeting chaired by President Tinubu at the State House, Abuja.

He added that the committee’s effort is in addition to state government support to ensure Nigeria makes progress in reducing open defecation.

“The Council then approved a cabinet committee comprising the federal ministries of Health, Finance,Water Resources, Environment, Youth, Aviation, Education because some of our children will be returning to school . In addition to this, the state government, we will co-opt, so that Nigeria makes progress in reducing open defecation because cholera is a developmental issue that requires a multi-sectoral approach.

“The President directed that a cabinet committee be set up to oversee what the emergency operation centre led by NCDC is doing and for the resources to be provided complemented by the state government,” he said.

Pate further disclosed: “At the moment about 31 states have recorded 1528 cases and 53 deaths in Nigeria. That is what we are working through the Emergency Operation Centre that was activated by NCDC on Monday.

“Now we have a cholera outbreak and we discussed extensively in the Council in addition to a new emergence of Yellow Fever specifically in Bayelsa State.

“On cholera we are in the middle of the 7th pandemic globally which is decades in the making. In 2022, the world had almost 500,000 cases of cholera so it is not only peculiar to Nigeria. In 2023 almost 700,000 cases of cholera were reported by the World Health Organization.

“This year more than 200,000 cases have occurred in five regions of the World.”

He emphasised that a multi sectoral approach is required to tackle the outbreak .

“Resources were deployed to 21 states to help them respond to cholera. We are improving awareness of population, handwashing, hygiene sanitation, in addition to treatment with drugs, and intravenous fluids,” he added.

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NCDC reports 1,598 cases of cholera across the country

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, NCDC, has reported 1,598 suspected cases of cholera across 107 local government areas.

The cholera outbreak is characterised by a case fatality rate of 3.5 per cent, significantly higher than the national expected average of one per cent, underscoring the severity of the situation.

The Director-General of NCDC, Dr Jide Idris, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja while providing an update on the cholera epidemiological situation in Nigeria and ongoing prevention and response efforts at the national and sub-national levels.

Cholera is a severe diarrheal illness caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The disease remains a significant health challenge, especially in regions with inadequate sanitation and clean water access.

Understanding the transmission mechanism of cholera is crucial to curbing its spread and implementing effective prevention measures.

Idris said: “Government is deeply concerned about the rapid spread and higher-than-expected mortality rate, indicating a more lethal outbreak.”

He emphasised that the fatalities represented significant personal losses, including those of family members, spouses, parents and healthcare workers.

“This situation can be compounded as the rainy season intensifies,” he added.

He disclosed that Lagos State accounted for the highest number of deaths with 29, followed by Rivers with eight, Abia and Delta with four each, Katsina with three, Bayelsa with two and Kano, Nasarawa and Cross River with one each.

He added: “This alarming trend highlights the urgent need for coordinated response to prevent further escalation of the crisis. Sixteen states accounted for 90 per cent of the confirmed cases, with Lagos being the epicentre of the outbreak. Lagos State, having the highest number of cases, has received significant focus, with ongoing support and resources directed to manage the outbreak effectively.”

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