WHO intervenes as Nigeria records cholera outbreak in prison

Cases of severe gastroenteritis, an inflammation of the stomach and intestine confirmed to be caused by cholera, have been detected in Kirikiri Medium Security Prison in Lagos State.

The state government confirmed in a statement on Sunday that it detected 25 cases of cholera-induced gastroenteritis, showing a possible spread of the infectious disease into correctional facilities in the state.

This discovery contradicts the previous position of the National Correctional Service (NCoS) spokesperson, Abubakar Umar, who had declared correctional centres cholera-free only four days ago.

He said the routine hygienic measures implemented in every correctional centre nationwide have kept the rampaging disease outside their walls.

He said these facilities have health professionals who consistently educate staff and inmates on basic hygiene mechanisms, including hand washing, clean environment and proper food handling.

“Due to these measures, we have not recorded any cholera outbreak or epidemic in our custodial centres.”

However, in the statement shared on Sunday, the Director of Public Affairs in the state’s health ministry, Tunbosun Ogunbawo, said officials have begun inspecting facilities across the state and correcting existing sanitation and water issues where required.

He assured that urgent medical and environmental interventions have been implemented across facilities, which is improving the situation.

WHO donation

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO), as part of the efforts to help the country address the Cholera outbreak, donated 10,000 doses of pharmaceuticals to health facilities in Lagos’ correctional centres.

The statement reads in part: “We were able to supply Kirikiri medium prison with intravenous fluids, infection prevention and other health consumables.

“Additionally, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has donated 10,000 doses of pharmaceuticals which have been delivered to the prison to support prison health facilities with prevention strategies for about 3,200 inmates if required”.

In the last 72 hours, the state did not record any new cholera-related deaths as the government continues to intensify countermeasures to eliminate transmission, Mr Ogunbawo said.

He, however, noted that the state is experiencing an ongoing low-grade community transmission as the new daily cases and deaths are reduced.

“But interventions are bearing dividends as residents were adhering to public health information and advice on safety measures and the need for early presentation to health facilities when symptoms developed,” he added.

WHO has also donated more than 30 cholera kits to the Lagos State Ministry of Health for affected communities.

The organisation said each treatment kit provides enough medical material to treat at least hundreds of patients in a community.

Outbreak of cholera

In June, health authorities declared a cholera outbreak in Lagos after recording 436 suspected cases of the disease.

Six days later, the state recorded more than 500 suspected and 43 confirmed cases, with a 5.4 per cent case fatality rate among the suspected cases reported.

On the source of the epidemic, Mr Ogunbawo said the wave has been linked to unregulated street beverages and contaminated water supply.

He explained that many of the samples taken from popular street beverages purchased by undercover environmental officers from the Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) and the Ministry of Health in the affected areas confirmed the presence of cholera bacteria.

“All of the containers had no NAFDAC accreditation numbers, indicating they are small cottage backyard informal production units,” he said.

Mr Ogunbanwo further noted: “Identifying the precise location of manufacture has proven difficult, and the directorate of environmental health is planning to seal any such unregulated manufacture and make arrests of anybody involved with the manufacture or distribution of beverages without NAFDAC numbers.”

Within the last six months, more than 1,000 suspected cases, 65 confirmed cases, and 30 deaths have been reported from 96 LGAs in 30 states across the country.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *