WHO Gives NDDC Plaudit For Tackling Cholera Outbreak

Mohammed Shosanya

The World Health Organisation, WHO, has commended the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC for taking proactive measures to address the challenge of a looming cholera outbreak in the Niger Delta region.

Its Country Representative to Nigeria, Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, gave commendation while handing over a partnership framework to the Managing Director of the NDDC, Dr Samuel Ogbuku, that will drive the development of the region during a courtesy visit at the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt.

According to a statement signed by Seledi Thompson-Wakama, Director, Corporate Affairs, Mulombo also commissioned 13 ambulances acquired by the NDDC for distribution to hospitals in its nine mandate states.

He noted that most countries in the world were lagging behind in meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, especially in the area of healthcare.

He said:“There is an urgent need to tackle the global climate change challenge because it brings about various health issues, one of which is cholera outbreaks.

“I congratulate the NDDC for organising free healthcare missions in the Niger Delta region and I look forward to optimising the collaboration we have established so far. We are also preparing to organise a health summit in the region.”

Responding, the NDDC Managing Director, Dr Ogbuku, said that the first phase of the Commission’s free healthcare mission, concluded recently, was very successful as many people benefitted from the programme.

He added: “The free medical outreach has been one of the flagship programmes of the Commission, with documented evidence and abounding testimonies of its beneficial impact in enhancing the quality of life of the rural poor in the region.”

“This programme, which provides healthcare services to medically underserved rural communities in the region, is one of several health programmes of the Commission, targeted at changing the health situation and narrative of our people in the region. It is in line with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, No. 3 which aspires to achieve universal health coverage and ensure health and well-being for all.

“We have successfully treated many medical conditions, including eye surgeries and the distribution of corrective eyeglasses to aid patients in reading small prints and improving their vision.

“Patients have also received various medications for conditions such as malaria, hypertension, diabetes, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), gastrointestinal disorders, dental care, surgeries for conditions like appendicitis, as well as diagnostic services including, random blood sugar tests.”
Ogbuku said that because of the high demand for the health services, the NDDC decided to carry out the health mission twice a year, rather than once.

The NDDC boss said that the WHO was discussing with the Commission to be part of the free health programme, as well as other health programmes that will benefit the people of the Niger Delta region.

“The participation of WHO will add professionalism and credibility to what we are doing in our medical outreach programme. It will also ensure that those vaccines that we don’t have access to, are procured through them for the benefit of our people.

“We are not only looking at what they will bring to us in terms of funding, we are looking at their contacts, reach and expertise in the medical field.”

Speaking during the commissioning of the 13 new ambulances, the Chairman of the NDDC Governing Board, Mr. Chiedu Ebie, appealed to the benefiting hospitals to put the ambulances to good use in the service of Niger Deltans.

He commended the WHO for partnering with the NDDC in developing the health sector, noting that the NDDC could not do it alone.

Cholera:Death Toll Hits 53

Mohammed Shosanya

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed that death from cholera outbreak has risen to 54 and spread to 31 states.

Speaking at a press conference in Abuja,Director General, Jide Idris, at a press conference in Abuja, yesterday, disclosed that as at June 24, 1,528 suspected cases and 53 deaths had been recorded across 107 local government areas with a case fatality rate of 3.5 per cent since the beginning of the year.

“These fatalities are not just statistics but a significant loss of a loved family member, a spouse, a parent, and often a seasoned healthcare worker and team member. This situation might be compounded as the rainy season intensifies.”

It has declared cholera a public health emergency after its risk assessment showed the country is now at ‘High Risk’ of increased risk of cholera transmission and impact.

“This demands immediate and coordinated actions, and, therefore, necessitated the recent activation of the National Cholera Multi-Sectoral Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) which underscored the gravity of the situation and the unwavering commitment of the stakeholders to protect the health and well-being of every Nigerian,” he said.

He explained that the EOC would serve as the nerve centre for the coordination of response across the country, and will also support affected states to facilitate rapid communication, data analysis, and decision-making processes, mobilise resources, expertise, and support from across the NCDC, partners, and stakeholders at all levels of government.

“It will ensure efficient deployment of needed resources, strengthen surveillance and diagnostic capacity and capabilities, enhance case management, training and intensify public awareness and community engagement activities.”

He implored all stakeholders, to stem the tide of the outbreak and redouble their efforts to contain the spread and prevent further loss of lives.

He also reminded health workers of the need to always practice standard safety precautions, particularly the practice of wearing gloves while handling patients or providing care to an ill patient/relative, and also intensify surveillance efforts to promptly report suspected cholera cases.

Cholera Outbreak:NCDC Confirms1,159 Suspected Cases, Lagos,Balyesa Lead

Mohammed Shosanya

A situation report from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) indicated a total number of 1159 suspected cases,65 confirmed cases and 30 deaths across 30 states in Nigeria.

The states most affected contributing 90 per cent of the total cases includes, Bayelsa, Lagos, Zamfara, Abia, Bauchi, Cross River, Ebonyi, Delta and Katsina.

A statement by the Minister of State,Federal Ministry of Environment, Dr. Iziaq Adekunle Salako, on Sunday in Abuja said, cholera, a poor sanitation and poor hygiene driven disease is an acute diarrhoea infection caused by ingestion of unwholesome food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae.

He,however,noted that; “Cholera is preventable, and prevention remains better and cheaper than cure. We therefore urge all Nigerians to take these preventive measures seriously and more importantly, keep their environment clean.

” To prevent the spread of cholera, we urge all Nigerians to be more vigilant, imbibe good sanitation and hygiene practices at home and in their workplace and take preventive measures such as:
keeping their environment clean always and disposing of waste properly at designated places.

“Ensuring the use of clean and safe water. Water from suspicious sources should be well boiled or treated by adding one part of chlorine solution to 100 parts of water.Avoid locally prepared drinks like kunu, sobo, fura da nono, koko, fruit juice etc except it is certain that the preparation was done in an hygienic and safe manner.

“Wash hands regularly with soap under running water, especially at moments such as after using the toilet, after cleaning a child who has gone to the toilet, before preparing food, before and after eating, and after playing with animals.

” Avoid open defecation and instead use clean and safe toilets.Cook foodstuff well, keeping food covered and eating it hot. Eating in public places including at parties should be done with utmost care.

” Wash fruits and vegetables with clean and safe water before eating.
Anybody experiencing any of the symptoms of cholera is advised to seek medical attention immediately.

” We urge all Commissioners of Environment and Local Government Chairmen to support Environmental Health Officers across the country to step up their sanitation and hygiene activities through enhanced community-led total sanitation in order to break further transmission and spread of the disease.

“We also urge the scale-up of awareness campaigns focusing especially on places where prepared food and drinks are sold like markets, garages, schools, restaurants, stadia, religious, and sporting events. In addition, sub-national governments are urged to strengthen environmental health surveillance in eating premises like “mama put”, cafeterias, restaurants and mobile food vendors.

“We assure the general public that the Federal Ministry of Environment remains committed to ensuring a clean and healthy environment for all Nigerians. This is the only way we can prevent and curtail the incidence of Cholera outbreaks and other sanitation related diseases.”

The statement noted that cholera remains a global threat to public health, affecting both children and adults and can kill if untreated promptly.

” It is an extremely virulent disease that takes between 12 hours and 5 days for symptoms to manifest. The common early symptoms are frequent watery stool that is usually milky white in colour, nausea and vomiting.

“Cholera outbreak is a seasonal public health event in Nigeria, occurring annually mostly during the rainy season and often in areas with poor sanitation and hygiene practices.

” Against this background, the Federal Ministry of Environment has been actively involved through the Department of Pollution Control and Environmental Health and the Environmental Health Officers Registration Council of Nigeria in activities to break further transmission of the deadly disease through water and food testing to identify sources of infection, environmental sanitation campaigns and household water chlorination.”

He disclosed that arrangements arte also being made to support states most affected by the outbreak with chlorine solution/tablets, water and food testing resources, IEC materials and technical advisory.

“The Federal Ministry of Environment is issuing this press release to sensitise the general public on cholera preventive and control measures to avert further spread and strengthen collaboration with the health authorities and other stakeholders in line with the one health approach of the Federal Government of Nigeria, ” he stated.

According to him, extreme climate events like flooding are also contributing in multiple ways to drive the outbreak of the disease.

He noted that the World Health Organization has confirmed the global resurgence of cases of cholera classifying the current outbreak a “grade 3 public health emergency”, requiring maximal WHO system wide response.

He added:”Nigeria is one of the 14 countries in Africa where the resurgence is being experienced.

” The ministry extends its condolence to families who have lost loved ones and stand in solidarity with all those affected by the outbreak.”

Oyo Moves To Stop Cholera Outbreak In Public Schools

Mohammed Shosanya

The Oyo State government has implemented measures to prevent cholera outbreak in public basic schools,advising head teachers to ensure that food handlers follow strict hygiene practices to prevent contamination.

The Executive Chairman, Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board, Dr. Nureni Aderemi Adeniran handed down the instruction today, in Ibadan.

He said the Oyo government, through the Board, is on top of its game to ensure public basic schools are taking steps to ensure the health and safety of students.

Adeniran urged parents, guardians, and school authorities to adhere to safety guidelines.

He said the board will work with Education Secretaries, Head Teachers, and other stakeholders to ensure strict compliance.

The advisory emphasized the importance of hand hygiene, recommending that children carry hand sanitizers and frequently wash their hands with soap and water, especially before meals and after using the restroom.

Dr. Adeniran also recommended that schools keep Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) available in school clinics to manage dehydration cases promptly and to notify the State emergency hotline, 615, immediately in case of any health emergencies or suspected cholera cases.

Adeniran said preventive measures including comprehensive health talks on cholera prevention among learners and staff, and safe drinking water practices, will be conducted regularly.

———- Forwarded message ———
Date: Sat, Jun 22, 2024, 3:27 PM
Subject: Cholera: Oyo Gov’t Rolls Out Measures To Prevent Outbreak In Public Schools

Good afternoon dear Editor.

Below is a statement on the Oyo state government’s efforts at preventing Cholera outbreak in public primary schools. Kindly use. Thank you.

Press Release

Cholera: Oyo Gov’t Rolls Out Measures To Prevent Outbreak In Public Schools

The Oyo State government has implemented measures to prevent cholera outbreak in public basic schools, advising Head teachers to ensure that food handlers follow strict hygiene practices to prevent contamination.

The Executive Chairman, Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board, Dr. Nureni Aderemi Adeniran handed down the instruction today, in Ibadan.

He said the Oyo State government, through the Board, is on top of its game to ensure public basic schools are taking steps to ensure the health and safety of students.

Adeniran equally urged parents, guardians, and school authorities to adhere to safety guidelines.

Dr. Adeniran said the board will work with Education Secretaries, Head Teachers, and other stakeholders to ensure strict compliance.

The advisory emphasized the importance of hand hygiene, recommending that children carry hand sanitizers and frequently wash their hands with soap and water, especially before meals and after using the restroom.

Dr. Adeniran also recommended that schools keep Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) available in school clinics to manage dehydration cases promptly and to notify the State emergency hotline, 615, immediately in case of any health emergencies or suspected cholera cases.

Adeniran said preventive measures including comprehensive health talks on cholera prevention among learners and staff, and safe drinking water practices, will be conducted regularly.

Cholera: Oyo Govt Urges Increased Vigilance

Mohammed Shosanya

The Oyo State Government has issued a call for more vigilance and the adoption of precautionary measures to prevent the spread of a potential cholera outbreak in the State.

The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Oluwaserimi Ajetunmobi gave the charge during her visit to a private hospital in Ibadan where two suspected cholera cases were receiving treatment.

Dr. Oluwaserimi Ajetunmobi noted that Cholera is a bacterial infection spread by eating or drinking food or water contaminated by the faeces (poop) of an infected person.

She explained that cholera is highly infectious and can cause severe acute watery diarrhea with severe dehydration, adding that It may be associated with nausea, profuse vomiting, and fever.

The Commissioner described the two suspected cases in Ibadan, which had been tracked down to a private facility in the state as male workers at a construction site in Lekki Peninsula from Lagos State

She noted that there is no cause for alarm as the Ministry and other partners are on top of the situation.

Dr. Oluwaserimi therefore reiterated the response efforts of the State Government through the Ministry at ensuring that the State does not record casualties from the cholera outbreak from Lagos State.

According to her, the response efforts include; the deployment of LGA DSNO, promotional jingles in English and Yoruba running in different media houses, Immediate inauguration of the Cholera Technical Working Group, putting IDC Olodo into active mode for isolation and management, reaching out to all our surveillance rangers at the LGA level to intensify surveillance activities, re-posting of cholera case definition on the platform of community informants for updates, awareness, and sensitization of the gatekeepers and other well-established community structures.

The Commissioner appealed to all to be safety conscious and always drink water only from clean sources, practice good personal hand hygiene by frequently washing hands with soap and water.

She maintained that anyone with the symptoms mentioned above should not partake in self-medication but present themselves at the nearest healthcare facility immediately.

11m Nigerian Child Experiencing Severe Food Poverty- UNICEF

Mohammed Shosanya

A new UNICEF report reveals that 11 million children under five in Nigeria are experiencing severe child food poverty, making them 50% more likely to suffer from wasting, a life-threatening form of malnutrition.

The Child Food Poverty: Nutrition Deprivation in Early Childhood report examines the dietary deprivation among children under five in nearly 100 countries.

According to the report,Nigeria ranks among the 20 countries with the highest rates of severe child food poverty, accounting for almost two-thirds of the 181 million affected children worldwide.

Globally, most children in food poverty are fed only breastmilk or starchy staples, with less than 10% receiving fruits and vegetables and less than 5% consuming nutrient-dense foods like eggs, fish, or meat.

The report highlights that the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19, growing inequities, conflicts, and the climate crisis have exacerbated food insecurity, with nearly 32 million Nigerians food insecure during this year’s lean season.

Key factors contributing to child food poverty include inadequate food systems, families’ inability to afford nutritious foods, and aggressive marketing of unhealthy ultra-processed foods. In Nigeria, the poorest families are the most affected, with 44% of children facing severe hunger compared to 17% in the richest families. Despite a decline in severe child food poverty from 45% in 2012 to 32% in 2022, UNICEF emphasizes the need for further action to ensure all children have access to a diverse diet.

“Children grappling with severe child food poverty are more likely to face the life-threatening consequences of wasting, impacting their survival and growth,” said Cristian Munduate, UNICEF Nigeria Country Representative. “We urgently need to work together to make nutritious options more accessible and affordable, especially for vulnerable families.”

UNICEF calls on governments, organizations, and the food industry to: Transform food systems to provide nutritious, affordable, and desirable foods for young children; Utilize health systems to deliver essential nutrition services and counsel parents on child feeding practices; and Activate social protection systems to address income poverty through responsive social transfers.

To combat severe child food poverty and malnutrition, the Child Nutrition Fund (CNF) was launched in Nigeria last year. The CNF, supported by several partners, incentivizes domestic investments to end child malnutrition. Four states have released funds to the CNF, with nine more pledging commitments.

UNICEF urges further support for the CNF and prioritization of efforts to end child food poverty and malnutrition.

Rivers: NDDC Distributes Free Drugs,Mosquito-Treated Nets To Mark World Malaria Day

Mohammed Shosanya

The Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC, on Saturday conducted free Malaria rapid diagnostic tests in Ogu Community, Ogu/Bolo Local Government Area of Rivers State of scores of residents including pregnant women and senior citizens.

The development was in commemoration of the annual World Malaria Day, observed globally on May 25,

The NDDC also distributed several Mosquito-treated nets, food, beverages, water and also Malaria drugs to residents who tested positive for the parasites, after sensitising the people.

Speaking after the sensitisation and items distribution, which took place at the Ogu community town hall, the Managing Director of the NDDC, Dr. Samuel Ogbuku, said the intervention was timely following the peoples clamour for help.

Ogbuku,who was represented by Dr. Asela Agala, commission’s Assistant Director, Education/Health/Social Services, noted that the programme was part of its efforts to ensure that vulnerable people are protected from Malaria infection.

Ogbuku said: “We came here to sensitise the people about the dangers of Malaria, how to manage and ways to prevent it. Malaria kills many of our children between zero to five years and pregnant women.

“This sensitisation should have been done in Port Harcourt, but we felt people in the rural communities need it more. Our target is the communities, you know that in the cities, our doors and windows are netted, but in the rural area they don’t know about that.

“Pregnant women in the cities go for antenatal, but in the communities, because of inaccessibility to health care, we decided to go to tje people.”

Earlier,an Obstetrician, Gynaecologist with the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital and doubles as a lecturer at the Rivers State University, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Dr. George Ella, while sensitising the people on the dangers of Malaria and ways to prevent it, emphasised the importance of seeking proper medical care after being infected by Malaria.

Dr. Ella,stressed that pregnant women and infants are more susceptible to Malaria parasite infection, following their fragile immune system, hence the crucial need for the people to keep their environment clean and ensure that their drainages flowing, adding that doing so would eliminate breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

“First and foremost for Malaria prevention, pregnant woman must sleep under insecticide treated net and secondly, they must must take preventive therapy, there’s what we call intermittent preventive therapy for malaria which is done with the use of Sulfadoxine pyrimethamine, a drug that is commonly known as Fansidar given to pregnant women of about four months every four weeks until they deliver.

“So women should take advantage of that, but for those who actually come down with malaria must receive treatment in a hospital, because sometimes malaria can cause miscarriage or death of the baby inside the womb because the immunity of the pregnant woman is lower and so they are highly vulnerable to malaria attacks.

“Those that are not pregnant need to also prevent malaria by sleeping inside a mosquito treated net, then of course environmental sanitation is very important, you must keep the drainages flowing, so people must avoid throwing their dirts and rubbish inside the drainages, our environment must be kept clean because dirty environment makes room for mosquitoes breeding grounds which would in turn bite people in their homes and transmit malaria germs,” he added.

One of the beneficiaries identified as Mrs. Rose Sokari, thanked the NDDC Managing Director, Dr Samuel Ogbuku and Boma Iyaye, the Executive Director, Finance and Administration of the NDDC, for bringing the medical intervention to their community.

She prayed God to bless and grant the organisers more wisdom to fulfill their assignments in the NDDC.

She added:“I am very very happy and grateful for this programme today that NDDC has remembered Ogu through Boma Iyaye. We thank God for that.

“Those that sponsored the programme, may God bless them and give them more knowledge and wisdom, let God fill their pockets and may such programmes always come to us.”

UNICEF Seeks Increased Funding Of Immunization Programme

Mohammed Shosanya

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has called for increased funding of immunisation by goverment and stakeholders to save lives of children.

Mrs Juliet Chiluwe, Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Enugu stated this in an interview with Journalists in Enugu.

Mrs Chiluwe,who said millions of children have being saved from vaccine-preventable diseases across the world in the last 50 years stated that the vaccination campaign focuses on child vaccination and celebration of achievements of the past 50 years of immunization efforts through possible campaign.

She said: “We commend the state goverment for their commitment in immunization exercise. Currently, We don’t have any case of polio in this region and even the outbreaks are on a minimal scale.

“The more reason we are stressing that the state government and other stakeholders partners to continue investing in immunization to ensure no child dies from vaccine preventable diseases,” she said

Mrs Chiluwe,who also called for intensive sensitization of immunization said “the more we campaign and sensitize the people, the more parents and wards come out to immunize their children.

She reiterated the commitment of UNICEF to continue to work with state goverment to ensure that all children are immunized.

Ghanaian Health Tech Startup Rivia Acquires Ghanaian SaaS Company Waffle

Mohammed Shosanya

Ghana-based health tech leader Rivia, announced today the acquisition of Waffle, a Ghanaian SaaS company specializing in software for small and medium-sized businesses.

The acquisition is expected to accelerate the digitization of Rivia’s network of primary care clinics and streamline the company’s operations.

The acquisition brings Waffle’s hospital and inventory management software under the Rivia umbrella, which was recently rebranded as RiviaOS. Waffle founder, Victor Nara, joined Rivia as its chief technology officer.

The RiviaOS platform functions as a Healthcare-as-a-Service (HaaS) solution, allowing healthcare providers to access features like appointment scheduling, a booking engine, services storefront, video consultations, e-pharmacy, e-lab, vitals capture, billing, expense, and revenue and inventory management.

The platform also offers cost-effective AI-powered health diagnosis on-demand.

Despite the fact that 87% of patient consultations take place in person, primary care in Ghana and other countries often lacks the infrastructure and technology for efficient service. This results in patient dissatisfaction, delayed visits, and a weakened healthcare system.

Rivia’s technology addresses this by creating an “asset-light” network that provides partner clinics with infrastructure upgrades, inventory supplies, and technology. Through standardized practices and protocols, Rivia delivers a consistent patient experience.

RiviaOS enables clinics to operate all aspects of their business on one platform.

On the acquisition, Rivia CEO Isidore Kpotufe said: “Victor is a brilliant entrepreneur and engineer. I was impressed by his insights on life, business and technology, and a deal was a natural order.

“I am very proud of what Waffle has achieved over the years,” said Nara. “When I was presented with the opportunity to join forces with Rivia – a company that shares similar vision, values, and culture – it was a no-brainer.

“By combining our strengths and resources, we can deliver more value, choices, and opportunities to clinics, customers, partners, and employees,” said Nara. “We will also be able to accelerate our innovation, expand our reach, and enhance our impact.”

Eric Osiakwan, Managing Partner of Chanzo Capital, an investor and Rivia board member, mentored Victor when he started his tech journey, and met Kpotufe, when he was a member of an accelerator cohort run by Chanzo Capital.

Osiakwan praised the recent acquisition: “Isidore and Victor will make an amazing team. This acquisition will help modernize and improve the efficiency of primary care clinics in Ghana using cutting-edge technology.”

Through this acquisition, Rivia aims to become the leading network of high-quality primary care clinics in emerging markets, operating with an asset-light model.

CSR: NAOC JV Delivers Medical Equipment To Rivers,Bayelsa,Delta,Imo States

Mohammed Shosanya

The Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) on behalf of NAOC Joint Venture has donated medical equipment to tertiary health institutions and hospitals in its four states of operations in Niger Delta, Nigeria.

The commissioning and handover ceremonies were held recently during which the equipment were given to the medical facilities located in Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta and Imo States. In particular, eleven (11) mobile ventilators were donated to hospitals in various cities.

According to the company,the initiatives were implemented to promote efficient health care delivery in the states and the communities in order to contribute to development of the regions through a healthy population.

The company and the institutions will establish a joint monitoring and evaluation team that will review periodically the performances and feedback on the utility and impact of the machines to the health care delivery in the institutions.

The company and its partners implement initiatives such as infrastructure, health, education and capacity building targeted at local socio-economic development to promote the sustainable development of the communities and states where it operates.

The Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) operates in the land and swamp areas of the Niger Delta under a joint venture agreement, popularly referred to as the NAOC JV. The NAOC JV includes the NNPC E&P Limited (NEPL), NAOC and Oando.