By Omon-Julius Onabu
Cholera outbreak in coastal communities of Bomadi and Burutu Local Government Areas of Delta State has reportedly killed at least 20 persons this year.
THISDAY gathered that scores of persons, mainly children, have been affected by the water-borne disease in the locality that is notoriously known for its poor quality water for drinking and other domestic uses.
Sources in the area said that residents became anxious about the growing number of people with symptoms similar to cholera who began to stream to public hospitals and health centres in the area.
Relevant government authorities were said to have expressed concern over the cholera outbreak, which is coming on the heels of yellow fever outbreak in some communities in the state even while the COVID-19 pandemic is still on the prowl.
A source in the ministry said yesterday that only about seven persons out of the 150 cases of cholera recorded as at January 16, 2021, had died.
The health ministry source, however, said that collation of new cases and necessary analysis of samples from the patients was ongoing.
It was reported that Tuomo, Tamigbe and Gberegolor communities in Bomadi Local Government Area were the most hit as several victims reportedly died before reaching hospital or receiving medical attention.
Nevertheless, a team of officials from the state ministry of health and State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (SPHDA) have moved in and working hard to bring the situation under control.
However, the residents of the area believed that the cause of the cholera outbreak is not farfetched, lamenting that due to non-existent potable water in the area, the people were left with no choice but to drink from the filthy water sources from the Forcados River, wells and local ponds.
“Here in Bomadi, we drink from this river (Focados) because that is the only source of water. Anyone can see how dirty the river is,” a Bomadi resident, Mr. Charles Ebiye, said, adding that “some persons also rely on their shallow wells or ponds; this is clearly the cause of this cholera.”
Ebiye lamented that the state government is yet to put into use the multi-million Naira water scheme it constructed in the area many years ago.
In his reaction, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Ononye Mordi, attributed the cholera outbreak to poor hygiene among the residents, including drinking water with high iron content and highly polluted by poor sanitary habits.
Ononye, however, assured that concerted efforts were being made by the state government to activate the water project soon in order to avail the people of the area of affordable clean and potable water supply.
The health commissioner expressed optimism that the situation would soon be put under control as the vaccination of the residents had commenced.