For weeks I have been following the trend of the recent cholera outbreak in this country.
Cholera is a water-borne illness that can be transmitted mostly by consuming contaminated water or when contaminated water comes in contact with food materials and is ingested.
This year’s cholera outbreak, which is reported as the worst in recent years, peaked in October/November and now appears to be on the decline. But sadly it has left in its wake 124 deaths from 2771 cases nationwide as reported by the Federal Ministry of Health. That’s 124 meaningful lives cut short by a preventable food-borne illness, 124 persons that have left behind loved ones to mourn their loss.
Another sad episode of the devastating tale of food-borne illness in Nigeria.
More sad is the fact that this is bound to repeat itself again.
Why do I say so.
Because you only need to follow the trend of occurrence and see that the hardest hit communities are almost always the rural areas where government footprints in terms of the basic infrastructures required to stave of this food-borne and water-borne illness are either completely inadequate or almost non-existent.
Like someone wrote online recently “Put in simple terms. Show me a community where people are dying of cholera, I will show you one where there is neither access to portable drinking water nor proper sanitation.”
What this means is that as long as adequate safe water and proper sanitation facilities/services are not available in these rural areas, the residents of these areas might as well begin to brace up for another bout of cholera outbreak even as they are yet counting their losses from the one that just subsided.
However NGOs like Food-Borne Illness Prevention Initiative can blunt the edge of the inevitable sword of another cholera outbreak through educating the populace on proper household/personal hygiene practices and other food-borne illness prevention practices.