By Yashim Katurak
As cholera epidemic continues to ravage some local governments in Adamawa state, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has deployed 39 personnel to assist in combating the menace.
They were deployed in Mubi North and Mubi South local government areas to control a recent outbreak of cholera in the state, an official said.
Ms Charity Warigon, the WHO Communications Officer, said in a statement in Abuja on Monday that as of May 26, about 434 cases of cholera had been reported in the areas, leading to 13 deaths.
Warigon said the personnel deployed would help coordinate partners’ response to the outbreak; support case management; carry out surveillance and contact; and tracing of suspected cases to guide interventions.
She said that WHO was also concluding plans to engage additional 15 ad-hoc personnel, who would support efforts at ensuring the outbreak did not spread to other locations.
“The outbreak has necessitated the health authority to activate an Emergency Operations Centre for concerted response and rapid decision-making.
“The transmission rate of the on-going cholera outbreak in Adamawa is indeed worrisome.
“Notwithstanding, WHO is leveraging on its past experience and lessons learnt in controlling major cholera outbreaks in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps.’’
She said that in response to the outbreak, the organisation has designated a cholera treatment centre at General Hospital, Mubi.
“This will rapidly interrupt transmission; we are already seeing results as the number of cases have been declining.”
She said that house-to-house sensitisation and awareness campaigns among traditional and religious leaders on the risk of cholera, were being undertaken by WHO to prevent its spread.
She said that cholera was easy to treat but could also kill quickly if not treated promptly and called on more efforts by all to prevent spread.
Meanwhile, health officials handling the outbreak of Cholera have identified contaminated water as the major cause of the epidemic in the area.
The officials in a meeting at the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC), attended by a delegation of Adamawa Governmen, said water from the wash boreholes used by water vendors in supplying water to majority of residents in the town tested positive to cholera bacteria.
“Test carried out on the water points showed that they are positive,” said a UNICEF official who spoke at the meeting without disclosing his name.
The official said that UNICEF in collaboration with other stakeholders like International Rescue Committee would embark on application of chlorine to affected water points in the town.
Also speaking at the meeting, the Principal Medical Officer (PMO) of Mubi General Hospital, Dr Ezra Sakawa, observed that the town has been experiencing shortage of potable water.
“Coming of the rains probably brought about the contamination of the water source,” he said.
Sakawa noted that wards like Nasarawo and Yelwa were the worst affected, adding that four cases were also brought from Mubi Prisons.
The state Commissioner for Water Resources, Alhaji Ahmed Rufai, said the state government was committed to addressing the problem of water in Mubi town.
Rufai said that the government had already signed a Memorandum of Understanding with European Union over water projects in Mubi that would address the problem.
The report said that the Adamawa government delegation led by the state Commissioner for Health, Dr Fatima Abubakar, also visited the Emir of Mubi, Alhaji Abubakar Isa, where it sought the intervention of religious and traditional rulers in enlightening the public on the outbreak and preventive measures.