Death toll tops 100 in Jigawa cholera outbreak

From Ahmed Abubakar, Dutse

No fewer than one hundred people have so far been confirmed dead as a result of a cholera outbreak that has ravaged Jigawa State in the last month.

The Permanent Secretary, Jigawa State Ministry of Health, Dr Salisu Mu’azu confirmed the figure while speaking to reporters in Dutse.

‘As of last Sunday we have recorded over 100 death cases from 5,000 infected cases, while over 251 are currently on admission at various health facilities as a result of the outbreak in 19 out of 27 Local Government Areas in the state,’ he said.

Dr Mu’azu related the causes of the outbreak to the use of contaminated water from river banks and a lack of health-seeking behaviours.

According to him, Hadeja local government recorded the highest number of cases.

Speaking on measures to control the outbreak, the permanent secretary said the Jigawa State Government with support from Unicef and the Lafiya programme has formed a rapid response team dispersed across three zones in the state.

He said the state government has opened up isolation centres in Hadejia, Gwaram and embarked on training surveillance, community awareness, the establishment of treatment centres and disinfection of communities.

When our reporter visited some parts of the affected communities in the state like the Zareku town area of Miga local government, it was discovered that, between Friday night and Saturday, eight people were confirmed dead as a result of the disease.

Confirming the incident, a medical staff (name withheld) at the Zareku Primary Healthcare Centre explained that the incident started on Thursday night and persisted until Friday, with five people dying on the same day.

‘We recorded the death of eight people, seven females and one male, who died as a result of cholera disease in this town of Zareku,’ he said.

He maintained that from the commencement of the outbreak about 268 suspected cases were recorded while 145 cases were admitted into the healthcare centre.

The medical staff decried the shortage of protection equipment and medicines for patients.

A relative to some of the deceased persons, Mr Hassan Galadima, narrated to reporters how he lost two sisters to the incident within the space of a few hours.

‘I lost my 16-year-old younger sister, Adama Galadima, a day after I lost my elder brother’s wife, who is 36-years-old,’ Mr Galadima said, adding that ‘as I’m speaking to you now the son of the deceased wife is also hospitalised.’

Also speaking to reporters, the village head of Zareku town, Malam Abdulqadir Ibrahim, confirmed the outbreak: ‘I have never seen a similar disaster where five people died in the same time like this one throughout my life in this town.’

Related: Cholera outbreak threatens Rivers community

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