By Mashe Umaru Gwamna
The Ministry of Environment, Mohammad Abubabar said the cholera outbreak in the country is due to poor environmental sanitation and hygiene practices in the country.
Abubabar advises citizens to imbibe good sanitation and hygiene practices and take preventive and control measures such as Keeping the environment clean;ensuring the use of clean and safe water;washing hands regularly with soap and running water especially at critical moments such as after using the toilet, after coughing or sneezing; after cleaning a child who has gone to the toilet; after touching books and money; before preparing food; before (and after eating); and after playing with animals.
The minister disclosed this at a press conference,in Abuja, following the outbreak of Cholera in the country.
He noted that his ministry,over the years,has collaborated with stakeholders cutting across government at all levels, organized private sector, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO’s), Community Based Organisations (CBO’s), academia, development partners, among others to deliver adequate sanitation and hygiene services to the citizenry, regretted that “despite all these efforts, the country continues to suffer from cholera epidermic and other sanitation enabled diseases every year.”
“This is largely due to our collective behaviours and attitude towards environmental sanitation and hygiene practices which are very poor,”
“The ministry in collaboration with relevant stakeholders including Environmental Health Officer’s (EHO’s) in the states and local government areas will embark on nationwide intervention response activities covering sanitary inspection of premises/environmental health uurveillance of hotspot communities.
“Other measures are disinfection of contaminated water sources/sites;strengthening capacity of Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) in the state ministries of environment and the affected local government areas”and sanitary inspection of food business premises of affected communities”.
“Advocacy, sensitization and community town hall meetings on control of open defecation practices and its health impact;sanitary inspection of Schools (Primary & Secondary) in affected communities;training of community volunteers on safe water handling, environmental sanitation and hygiene practices;working with the state and local governments to ensure enforcement of relevant environmental sanitation laws, standards and regulations and guidelines in all the communities”,he stated
He also advised citizens to avoid open defecation;cooking food well;keeping it covered and eating it hot as well as disposing wastes regularly and at designated collection centres.
He also charge all state governments, commissioners of environment, local government chairmen/councillors and environmental health officers across the country to step up their sanitation and hygiene programmes and activities to control and prevent further outbreak and spread of cholera in our country,”
He assured the general public that the “Federal Ministry of Environment remains committed to ensuring a clean and healthy environment for all Nigerians.”
” This is a collective responsibility which requires concerted efforts of all and sundry. This is the only way we can prevent and curtail incidences of cholera outbreak and other communicable diseases. I therefore call on all members of the public to keep their environment clean,”he added.
He explained that government will be flagging off National Environmental Sanitation Response Intervention for cholera outbreak in Kubwa, Abuja which is currently the epi-centre in the FCT.
“Nigeria is currently experiencing cholera outbreak in several parts of the country with reported cases of fatalities.
“ Latest situation report from Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) released on 10th August 2021 indicated a total number of 33,661 suspected cases including 938 deaths in 22 states and FCT(Benue, Delta, Zamfara, Gombe, Bayelsa, Kogi, Sokoto, Bauchi, Kano, Kaduna, Plateau, Kebbi, Cross River, Niger, Nasarawa, Jigawa, Yobe, Kwara, Enugu, Borno, Kastina, Adamawa and FCT) with increasing number of new cases in, Zamfara, Bauchi, Kano, Gombe, Plateau, Niger, Zamfara and Abuja FCT”.
He explained that, It is against this background that the Federal Ministry of Environment is organising this press conference to respond to the increasing rate of spread of Cholera cases across the country, sensitize the general public on cholera preventive and control measures to avert further outbreaks and strengthen collaboration with NCDC and other stakeholders in tackling the cholera scourge.
The minister in responding to the in recent cholera outbreak, said the federal ministry of environment,has activated the Sanitation Desks in the 36 State Ministries of Environment and FCT.
He urged them to carry out environmental sanitation activities in their various states aimed at containing the outbreak.