By Rabiu Sani
Medicine Sans Frontiers otherwise known as ‘Doctors Without Borders’, on Friday said that four expectant mothers had died of Hepatitis (E) infection at the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp,Ngala, Borno.
The organisation also said that 400 other displaced persons including women and children were infected with the disease in the camp.
A statement signed by Musa Yahaya, the MSF Field Communication Officer, and released in Maiduguri, said hundreds of persons were infected following the spread of the disease from the Niger Republic.
The organisation estimated that there were about 45, 000 displaced persons at the Ngala camp, of Ngala Local Government Area of the state.
Hepatitis E or liver inflammation is a viral disease caused by infection with a virus called hepatitis Evirus. It is one of the five known human hepatitis viruses: A, B, C, D, and E.
The disease is caused by drinking contaminated water within the endemic areas or through the consumption of uncooked or under-cooked meat. Hepatitis outbreak can be epidemic or individual.
Yahaya said that the contagious disease spread quickly in the Ngala camp due to a combination of poor living conditions and flooding.
He described the situation in the camp as ‘worrisome’ and portended serious health threats.
“The situation in Ngala is very worrying. Heavy rain caused flooding in the camp and water submerged pathways, latrines and shelters.
“Whenever it rains, the whole camp gets covered with mud and dirty water. “This is a recipe for spreading bacteria and disease,” the statement said.
Yahaya disclosed that over 400 cases of the disease were recorded and 170 patients treated while four expectant mothers died of the disease in the past two months.
He explained that the disease could be very dangerous in pregnancy and caused high rate of abortions, stillbirth, and premature delivery.
“It can also cause severe haemorrhages in mothers, both during childbirth and after delivery”.
The communication officer said that the organisation encouraged the community to conduct waste clearance exercise to rid the camp of dirty water.
He added that the organisation had also distributed soap and chlorinated water supply to contain spread of the disease.
Yahaya stressed that urgent measures were necessary to enhance access to safe drinking water and promote good sanitation to contain the disease
According to him, the organisation had been working in Ngala camp since October 2016 and currently ran a hospital providing inpatient and outpatient services, antenatal care and malnutrition treatment.
Mr Haruna Mishelia, the Borno Commissioner for Health, said that cases of the disease were recorded at Mobar, Monguno and Ngala local government areas.
Mishelia said the state government had responded positively to contain the disease.
“Hepatitis (E) cases at Mobar, Monguno and Ngala are under control,” the commissioner said.