Laleye Dipo in Minna
Residents of Bida in Bida Local Government Area of Niger State have said that no fewer than 19 persons have reportedly died, while 65 others have been hospitalised as a result of an outbreak of cholera in the town.
However, the local government in an official statement has confirmed 10 deaths and 60 hospitalised.
Residents of the ancient town also claimed that the community had been thrown into panic and fear as a result of the outbreak.
The residents blamed the health issue on the consumption of unhygienic water because the town had been without pipe borne water “for some time”.
Some of the victims were admitted at either the Federal Medical Centre or the Abdulmalik Ndayako General Hospital in the town.
An official letter from the Bida LGA signed by the Council Secreatry Suleiman Sheshi for the chairman dated 18th June, 2018 and addressed to the state Commissioner for Health, which also confirmed the outbreak said: “The council had no capacity to contain the outbreak.”
The letter, a copy of which was made available to THISDAY on Monday evening expressed regrets that as at the time of the outbreak (Sunday) “only one medical doctor was on call at the hospital due to manpower shortage”.
“The General Hospital is lacking medical consumables and adequate facilities to cater for the present ’emergent’ health challenge. Over ten (10) infected with the disease have been confirmed dead,” the letter stated.
The letter continues: “The present situation at hand cannot be handled by the Bida LGA alone, part of the reason why this letter is written is to request for superior intervention from the state government. Prompt action from your part will, without any doubt, save a lot of lives presently at critical points of survival.”
Meanwhile, the council had in a separate letter titled “announcement” advised the people of the council to maintain the “highest hygiene in order to avoid the spread of the outbreak”.
Thee council warned against drinking of unhygienic water which was capable of spreading the disease in addition to telling residents “to be careful on the consumption of fruits already sliced for re-sale by grocers, and herbal concoction prepared under poor hygienic conditions”.
“Person or persons suspected to have contacted cholera should be rushed to nearby hospitals for treatment without delays,” the statement said, adding that: “On no account should home treatment be used as an option.”
This second statement also signed by the council secretary Suleiman Sheshi warned that: “Whoever handles or has any form of contact with cholera patient should properly wash their hands with soap and detergents. Where these are not available, ashes should be used to wash the hands thoroughly.”
All efforts to get the confirmation of the incident from the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Mohammed Jibrin, were abortive as at 6:20pm on Monday.