By Michael Olugbode, in Maiduguri
The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday said the death toll of 48 recorded from outbreak of cholera in Borno State, North East Nigeria could have been more but for early intervention tion to combat the disease.
The disease, which afflicted about 2000 people mostly at the internally displaced persons camps scattered all over the Boko Haram ravaged state, was combatted with vaccines.
Speaking in Maiduguri after assessing the ongoing cholera vaccination exercise in Borno State, the World Health Organisation Representative in Nigeria, Dr. Wondi Alemu said the plan to combat cholera had been put in place since May before the commencement of the rainy season.
He said: “For the outbreak of cholera, we are prepared from May or June before the rainy season that this could occur. The preparation was led by the state government, ministry of health and some of the medicine and kits were placed where they were needed, once cholera was identified we moved in, the amount of work and commitment is commendable. We have treatment centres close to the communities, yes it was anticipated, we were prepared for it.”
He added that: “The government has prepared what we call national cholera prevention and control plan, where all of us are participating, particularly in Borno. And in this kind of situation when we have cholera outbreak, we have to do what is needed to save life and to check the disease from spreading.
“The issue is that for any of this case that is conducive for cholera spread, we have anticipated, based on the anticipation we have quickly come to contain it as quick as possible. If not for the intervention this is not the number of cases we would have had, it would have been much worse.”
He said: “WHO has supported right from the very beginning in the confirmation of cholera cases and after that, worked with the state ministry of health and also other partners in the establishment of treatment centres and also provision of supplies, medicine, and technical support including going from house to house, finding cases and directing them to the treatment centres and making sure there is intervention.”