The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, has disclosed that cholera outbreak were reported in 17 states of the federation between January and June this year, putting the number of accumulated cases at 22,347.
Chukwu also said 288 people lost their lives to the endemic disease within the same period.
The minister made these known yesterday in Abuja at the opening ceremony of a three-day national workshop on water sanitation, organised by the Nigerian Water and Sanitation Association( NIWASA).
Chukwu, who was represented by the Director of Public Health in the ministry, Mrs. Bridget Okoeguale, noted that though the above figures were lower than the figures recorded in 2012, Nigeria could do better if adequate sanitation measures were adopted.
He added that authorities at the state level often do not report cholera outbreak to the federal government until it becomes unmanageable.
“Cholera has remained one of the major public health challenges in our society, despite our spate of development. No doubt many states refused to report it’s occurrence to the federal ministry of health, until it gets out of hand. This year alone, as at week 22 (January 1-June 8) outbreaks have been reported in 17 states with accumulated cases of 22, 347, with 288 deaths,” he said. According to the minister, investigations revealed that poor quality of water was responsible for the outbreak and sustenance of the disease in most communities.
“Reports showed that while the outbreak was sustained in Makurdi, Benue State, due to the consumption of polluted water from the Benue River, that of Bauchi continued unabated due to poor hygiene practices and erratic water supply from public water from doubtful sources,” he added.
Earlier, NIWASA President, Mr. Joe Onwuaduegbo, in his welcome address, stated that the development of sustainable and efficient water treatment system would combat the rate of deaths attributed to water borne diseases.
“The truth we should know is that it is not the duty of government alone to provide potable water. As professionals in the industry, it is our duty to contribute to efforts of federal and state governments in meeting that challenges arising from water treatment,” Onwuaduegbo said.