The Federal Government says it will soon inaugurate National Environmental Sanitation Response Intervention to a cholera outbreak in Kubwa, Abuja, currently the epi-center in the FCT.
The Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, disclosed this while briefing the newsmen on the cholera outbreak on Monday, in Abuja.
Abubakar said that the latest situation report from Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) released on Aug. 10, indicated a total number of 33,661 suspected cases including 938 deaths in 22 states and FCT.
He said that the ministry in collaboration with relevant stakeholders including Environmental Health Officers (EHO’s) in the states and local government areas would embark on nationwide intervention response activities.
He also said that the ministry had activated sanitation desks in the 36 state offices of the ministry, including the FCT, adding that the effort was for effective response to the outbreak.
He urged the head of the desks to carry out environmental sanitation activities in their various states aimed at containing the outbreak.
“The purpose of this briefing is to sensitise the media and general public on the cholera outbreak in the country and the efforts being made by the ministry to contain the scourge.
“As you are aware, Nigeria is currently experiencing cholera outbreak in several parts of the country with reported cases of fatalities.
“The ministry had requested the EHOs in the states and local governments across the country to intensity their efforts in carrying out sanitary inspection of premises and abatement of nuisances,” he said.
According to him, the ministry with the relevant stakeholders in the states and local government areas will embark on nationwide intervention response activities.
He said that this would cover the areas such as sanitary inspection of premises/environmental health surveillance of hotspot communities.
“Sanitary inspection of schools primary and secondary in affected communities as well as training of community volunteers on safe water handling, environmental sanitation and hygiene practices.
“Also, a sanitary inspection of food business premises of affected communities advocacy, sensitization and community town hall meetings on control of open defecation practices and its health impact, among others,’’ he said.
Abubakar urged all levels of government, including the Commissioners of Environment, across the country to step up their sanitation and hygiene programmes to control and prevent further outbreaks and spread of cholera.
He, however, gave assurance that the ministry remained committed to ensuring a clean and healthy environment for all Nigerians.
According to him, this is a collective responsibility that requires concerted efforts of all and sundry.
“This is the only way we can prevent and curtail incidences of cholera outbreak and other communicable diseases. I, therefore, call on all members of the public to keep their environment clean.
“l as well, urge all media organizations to join the ministry and other stakeholders, in controlling and preventing the spread of the outbreak, by sensitising and educating the public on cholera preventive and control measures,” he said.