Published Date: 2011-08-29 11:53:29
Subject: PRO/EAFR> Cholera - Nigeria (15): (Oyo)
Archive Number: 20110829.228269
CHOLERA - NIGERIA (15): (OYO)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Sun 28 Aug 2011
Source: Punch on the Web [edited]
Cholera epidemic in Oyo State
Over a week ago, both the government and the people of Oyo State lived in palpable fear. The news of the cholera outbreak in some parts of the state capital has left many of the citizens in grief and apprehension of possible spread of the epidemic beyond the 6 communities being currently ravaged by the disease.
A top official in the state Ministry of Health, who preferred anonymity, recalled that Shaki, a community in Oke-Ogun area of the state and the neighbouring communities had a bitter experience of the dreaded disease not too long ago. On Sat 20 Aug 2011, when our correspondent confirmed the report of cholera outbreak in Ibadan North-West Local Government area of the state, 4 people were alleged to have died with 16 people hospitalised.
The Director of Environmental Services in the council, Mr. Olalekan Olatunbosun, who confirmed the occurrence to our correspondent, said that the Ayeye community was the worst hit by the outbreak. Other areas that were affected by the epidemic are Opo-Yeosa, Idi Ikan, Alawo, Abebi and Ekotedo communities.
A visit to the affected areas confirmed the squalor and un-hygienic lifestyle of residents in the area. Most houses are without conveniences, drainage and waste bins. Investigation confirmed that the people usually defecate in their rooms, wrap in polythene or paper and drop in the gully created by erosion. These channels, apart from being infested with faeces, also have heaps of refuse generated daily by residents.
Before the next rainfall, the environment is filled with flies as well as nauseating odour. And, when the rain finally comes it washes the faeces and the refuse down the slope into neighbouring houses that are situated in the valley. The wells, which are the only sources of water apart from rain water that they collect whenever it rains, are filled with faeces and other wastes. Where toilets are built, they are located close to the wells. The dead are also buried in the courtyards close to their water sources thereby increasing the possibility of contamination.
The Director of Environmental Services in the local government said that lack of toilet facilities in most of the houses in the affected communities was responsible for the outbreak. He said, "When our men went round, we found out that most of the houses do not have toilets and waste bins. Their water sources must have been polluted because they dumped faeces carelessly all around their houses. During earlier routine visits to the areas, before the cholera outbreak occurred, we marked some houses and gave them 2 weeks' notice to put up toilets." But, according to him, none of the landlords complied with the directive. Olatunbosun indicated that some houses had been marked for defaulting the environmental law. He said the people were served the order to build toilets within 14 days but none of them complied. Defaulters, he said, would be charged to court.
This, however, is after the disease had ravaged the community. One of the 4 people that lost their lives was a 7-year-old who was bustling with life. The young boy was the toast of the people in his neighbourhood. The boy was described as a young entertainer, was the 1st to wake up last Thu 18 Aug 2011 at his Ayeye residence. But this time he was not as lively as he used to be. When it was time for him to take his breakfast, he said he was not ready for his meal. His mother said she knew immediately that there was problem. But she never envisaged that the problem would claim the life of his son. She recalled gloomily, "Within a few seconds, he started vomiting and was also stooling at the same time. He soon became very weak, he could not talk. When we tried to make him talk he could not answer. His eyeballs turned whitish." One thing led to the other in quick succession. And, at last, the boy died before he was taken to the maternity centre just a few metres away from their r
esidence. The mother said, "It happened so fast, in less than 2 minutes my baby was gone."
In less than 24 hours after the boy's death, three other people were reported dead. One lady, was said to have rushed her baby to Opo-Yeosa for treatment after it started manifesting symptoms of cholera. The baby reportedly died on the way. 2 adults were also struck by the cold arms of the disease while many others suffered the throes of death. Those affected by the epidemic were said to have been rushed to Ayeye Health Centre and Oniyanrin Maternity. But the state government has since intervened. The sick were transferred to the Cholera Unit at the State Hospital, Jericho, Ibadan.
An elder at Ayeye community, Mr. Akeem Owode, said that there was hardly any house in the area with a toilet. He said, "Most of the inhabitants make use of polythene bags to dispose their faeces and also to pack the dirts, which they eventually throw into drainage." He said the people had not been making use of the public toilet provided by the council because they could not afford the sum of N20 charged.
An emergency meeting was said to have been summoned at the Ibadan North -West Health Care Centre at Ayeye community to sensitise residents on the need to maintain a healthier and cleaner environment. Mrs. Kadijat Adedokun, the Matron at the health centre described the development as very disturbing. According to her, the centre inaugurated a committee on health, but the state of health had remained a source of worry. The House of Representatives member representing Ibadan South-West/North-West Federal Constitutency, Mr. Saheed Fijabi, has said that there is the need for the people to support government's initiative towards fighting cholera outbreak in the affected areas. Fijabi, who visited the area on Thursday [25 Aug 2011], said it was necessary to carry out health mapping and screening in the state. The lawmaker, who is also a member of the Economic Community of West Africa States parliament, said that it was embarrassing that cholera outbreak was still prevalent in Nigeri
a in this age and time.
The Caretaker Committee Chairman of the council, Mr. Wasiu Olatubosun, as part of efforts to check the spread of the disease reportedly directed the health and environment management units of the council to commence one week intensive assessment and intervention in the affected areas. Olatunbosun said, "When our men went round we found out that most of the houses in the affected areas do not have toilets and waste bins. Their water sources must have been polluted because they dumped faeces carelessly all around their houses. During our earlier routine visits to the areas, before the cholera outbreak occurred, we marked some houses and we gave them two weeks' notice for them to construct their toilets. We have since discovered that none of the landlords complied with the directive. They have been marked out for defaulting environmental law and we again served them an order to build toilets within 14 days, after which they will be charged to court for appropriate legal action."
As part of emergency response by the local government, all major sources of water around the affected areas have been treated while the adjoining areas have been fumigated, with an assurance that other areas would be covered within a short time. The council has also banned the activities of food vendors in the 6 affected communities pending the time that the epidemic would be phased out. To complement this effort, the Oyo State Government deployed a team of senior Ministry of Health officials, doctors and other health workers, led by the new Commissioner for Health, Dr. Abdullateef Olopoenia, to the affected neighbourhood to ascertain the claims and curtail the spread.
The health commissioner, acting on the order of the state Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, who is currently on lesser Hajj, visited the affected areas, along with the permanent secretary in the ministry and the Disease Surveillance Officers in all the 33 local governments in the state. The team said that they conducted diagnostic test on stool samples to confirm the epidemic. Following the confirmation, they distributed medical materials to hospitals and clinics in the affected local governments and mobilised private health facilities in the areas to assist patients with the disease.
[Byline: Akinwale Aboluwade]
[The cholera outbreak in Oyo state has been attributed to poor sanitation and hygiene practices including open defecation, street food vending, and lack of access to safe water and toilet facilities. In response to the outbreak, the authorities have held community sensitisation meetings, instituted regulatory measures requiring landlords to install toilet facilities, treated water sources, and food vending activities have been banned. In addition, cholera treatment centres have been set up and drugs made available for treat cases. These measures should go a long way in preventing further cases and hence control the current outbreak to prevent further cases and deaths.
A map showing the states in Nigeria can be seen at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/States_of_Nigeria and the HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map of the country can be seen at
http://healthmap.org/r/19ug. - Mod.JFW]