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WaterAid Expresses Concern Over Cholera Outbreak In Nigeria

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – A frontline international not-for-profit organization, WaterAid has expressed its concern over the recent cholera outbreak that has affected communities in several states in Nigeria.

The Cholera outbreak which has claimed over 3000 lives so far, particularly affecting young 5 and 14 years old, has been widely described as the most devastating in the West African nation.

In a statement by its Communications Support Consultant, Rachel Ogunlana, WaterAid noted that the numbers might be even higher,  as  people in hard-to-reach areas have been affected as well, but they are not all included.

The not-for-profit organisation observed that the global climate crisis, which is likely to lead to more erratic rains and river floods, will increase the number and severity of these outbreaks, as there will be a higher risk of floods contaminating clean water sources.

Country Director of WaterAid in Nigeria, Evelyn Mere said the outbreak has been the most lethal one in several years, considering the number of cases and death recorded so far.

 “It shows how important clean water and good sanitation and hygiene are to saving lives. Even though the rainy season is coming to an end, the outbreak is ongoing”, she said.

Mere noted that  improving living and sanitation conditions in a sustainable way is extremely important in the fight against diseases like cholera and the impacts of climate change because, according to her,  it will literally save thousands of lives.

“Communities need proper hand washing and sanitation facilities, and clean water sources that are at a distance from toilets so there’s no cross contamination”, she added.

Meanwhile, WaterAid is working closely with the authorities in several states and at national level in the fight against cholera. It is intensifying the campaign against cholera through TV and Radio messages, focusing on the importance of access to safely managed toilets in households and public institutions and an end to open defecation while campaigning to improve hand washing habits.

In addition, the organisation is also working continuously to influence government at all levels to prioritize the access of communities to clean water.

It may be recalled that an earlier report on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, only an estimated 16 percent of the population in Nigeria have access to basic hygiene services, 44 percent have access to basic sanitation and 46 million Nigerians still defecate in the open. Worse still, their waste is often washed away by rain, contaminating water sources like drinking wells, especially during raining season.

To tackle the challenge, WaterAid stressed that the Nigerian government and donors need to step up their investment in the grossly underfunded water, sanitation and hygiene sector, which was declared to be in a state of emergency in 2018.

Short URL: https://www.africanexaminer.com/?p=68909

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