BY OJO SAMSON AYOMIDE
Residents of Borno State can finally heave a sigh of relief as the state government recently declared the cholera outbreak over. The state recorded 12,496 confirmed cases with 394 deaths (confirmed 288, suspected 106) from (17 September 2022 to 23 December 2022) in 17 out of 27 Local Government Areas (LGAs).
The State Director of Public Health, Dr Goni Abba, says the announcement follows the successive decline in cases below the emergency threshold, and an epidemiological review carried out in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO).
Given the epidemiology of cholera in Nigeria, this does not mean that new cases of the disease would not be detected in the state as the year goes by.
Dr Abba, however, reiterates the state’s commitment towards ensuring a reduction in cholera deaths through vaccination, strengthened disease surveillance, early detection and appropriate treatment.
He expressed gratitude to WHO and other partners that collaborated with Borno state in managing the cholera outbreak from when it was confirmed and reported till it was declared over.
“I would like to appreciate WHO technical officers for their leadership and guidance in containing the outbreak. Although the emergency phase is over, I appeal to all health partners to work in synergy to build a sustainable health response that will save lives,” he says.
Furthermore, the WHO Northeast Emergency Manager, Dr Beatrice Muraguri, mentioned that the WHO technical officers have been part of the cholera emergency response since the first cases were reported.
According to her, cholera is one of the fatal endemic diseases ravaging the lives of most vulnerable people, and the prompt cholera coordination by Borno state government yielded a viable result.
“The outbreak was declared over after there were no cases reported following weeks of heightened surveillance in the affected LGAs. This provides an opportunity to review lessons leant and strengthen our public health preparedness, detection, surveillance and response for the upcoming rainy season.
Meanwhile, WHO will continue to work towards the 2030-Global Roadmap for Ending Cholera by providing technical guidance to the state government, prepare and preposition kits to avert cholera outbreaks from occurring,” she says
To contain the outbreak, WHO supported Borno State by donating 85 foldable beds for emergency treatments, led the coordination of health partners during the outbreak response, provided life-saving intervention by strengthening the capacity of 516 healthcare workers to improve the surveillance system, raise public awareness through risk communication and community engagement which contributed to early reporting of cases and managenment across the hotspots LGAs.
The state confirmed cholera outbreak in September 2022, and it was declared over on 23 December 2022.
Additionally, the WHO support was made feasible through funding from the Government of Germany, European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), the Nigerian Humanitarian Fund (NHF), the United State Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).