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Why Lagos, others face serial cholera outbreaks – CAPPA

THE Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) has blamed the recurring cholera outbreaks in Nigeria on the government’s failure to invest in safe water for the citizens. 

In a statement signed by its media and communications officer, Robert Egbe, and mailed to The ICIR on Thursday, June 20, CAPPA noted that the government’s failure to invest in public water and sanitation had resulted in the federal government’s confirmation of cholera outbreaks in more than 25 of the nation’s 36 states, including Lagos.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), cholera is an acute diarrheal infection characterised, in its severe form, by extreme watery diarrhoea and potentially fatal dehydration.

A report by The ICIR in 2023 shows that Nigeria is one of the 13 African countries battling cholera with several outbreaks of the disease since 2021 when the country reported 111,062 suspected cases and 3,604 deaths.

The cases were reported largely among children between ages five and 14 across 33 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Four states among the 33 affected states namely Bauchi, Jigawa, Kano and Zamfara plus the FCT, accounted for 53 per cent of the cases.

“While the Lagos State Ministry of Health has warned that the current outbreak, associated with the cholera subtype known as Serovars O1, is highly aggressive and contagious, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) reported that 1,141 suspected cases have been recorded so far in 2024, with at least 30 deaths resulting from 65 confirmed cases of the outbreaks from January 1 to June 11,” the CAPPA’s statement reads.

The ICIR reports that as of today, June 20, cholera has reportedly claimed 21 lives in Lagos State.

CAPPA’s executive director, Akinbode Oluwafemi, said that millions of Nigerians still suffered from an acute lack of access to potable water supply and relied on unsafe water sources for use and drinking, adding that the solution to controlling cholera lied in the effective management of public water and sanitation systems.

“The disease, even though preventable, is particularly vicious in areas where sanitary facilities are insufficient, and the availability of safe water supply is inadequate. As such, the resolution to controlling cholera lies in the effective management of public water and sanitation systems,” he said.

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He added that the growing trend of privatising essential utilities like public water supplies was the cholera epidemic in the country.

According to him, the vulnerable population suffer the most and are left helpless against water-borne outbreaks like cholera.




     

     

    Also, CAPPA’s policy and research officer, Zikora Ibeh, pointed out that although the Lagos State government had acknowledged the severity of the current outbreak and the increased risk in urban slums and crowded areas, the acknowledgement needed to be translated into concrete plans that put the needs of the general public ahead of those of corporate interests, Ibeh stated.

    He added that the cholera epidemic in Nigeria was an example of social inequality, noting that Lagos, a progressive city, did not have a sufficient public water supply or sanitary facilities.

    Ibeh frowned at underfunding public water infrastructure, inadequate public water workers and depending too much on outside vendors, leaving low-income citizens without access to clean water and at risk of avoidable illnesses.

    To guarantee that all Nigerians, regardless of socioeconomic status, have access to clean and safe drinking water, CAPPA encouraged the federal government and state authorities to establish sufficient public water supply infrastructure and put in place a better emergency preparedness for medical personnel.

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