Mr Baba Galadima, Deputy Director, WASH Response and Collaboration, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, has raised an alarm over impending outbreak of cholera in Sasa Community, Akinyele Local Government Area of Oyo state.
Galadima, in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Wednesday, underscored the need for an immediate response to forestall the disease outbreak.
He said that the water resources ministry and some development partners recently carried out a sanitation check on Sasa Community and found out that the residents were living in a very filthy environment.
He said that for in the last seven years, the ministry had been receiving reports of cholera outbreak in the area, adding that such outbreaks were also confirmed by the Director of Disease Control in Oyo State Ministry of Health.
“This means that something must be done to help the people so that the unwholesome situation in the community can be addressed and eradicated.
“Cholera is not airborne, it is water-borne and caused by poor sanitation, water and hygiene; what we saw in the community really confirms to us that they are susceptible to cholera outbreaks,’’ he said.
Galadima said that the use of the only functional borehole in the community had been unduly politicised, as it was connected to the houses of party loyalists, denying the populace access to the water supply channel.
He said that the ministry had taken up the matter by soliciting the intervention of the State Rural Water Supply Agency regarding the need to allow all the residents to use the borehole.
The deputy director said that efforts were underway to spur behavioual change in the citizens by adopting Community-Led Total Sanitation due to the dangers of oral-faecal transmission of diseases, especially from poor hygiene practices.
Galadima, however, noted that without the citizens’ access to water, Nigeria would be unable to have good sanitation, adding that many people lacked water and had no access to reliable public water supply.
He, therefore, called for the collective efforts of all stakeholders to support the government’s efforts to provide water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, insisting that the government could not do it alone.
He said that it was saddening to note that a large number of Nigerians were not bothered about the sanitation of their surroundings, adding that they had probably forgotten that a clean environment promoted better health.
“The government cannot do everything; so we expect stakeholders to come in to help government.
“It is sad to note that the people who are mostly affected seem so ignorant about their health, as they continue to live in very filthy environments,’’ he said.
Speaking on emergency responses in the North East, Galadima stressed the need to provide humanitarian services to the displaced persons, saying that water and sanitation were a necessity and key indices to improved life.
“When you have a crowd living in a confined space, certainly, the issue of outbreak of any disease is imminent. The outbreak of any kind of disease, such as meningitis, can occur.
“If children also do not have a place to pass their excreta, there is a problem. Food and access to school must also be provided; these responses must always be made available,’’ he added. (