July 21, 2024

WHO Provides Aid as Cholera Outbreak Hits Lagos’s Kirikiri Prison


The Lagos State government has announced increased support from the World Health Organization (WHO) as it addresses a cholera outbreak at Kirikiri prison. Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, detailed the state’s response, including significant medical and environmental interventions.


Abayomi confirmed the state’s quick actions: “We supplied Kirikiri medium prison with intravenous fluids, infection prevention materials, and other health consumables.” He further noted that the WHO contributed 10,000 doses of pharmaceuticals to support the prison’s health facilities, targeting approximately 3,200 inmates if necessary. Additionally, immediate corrective measures were taken for water and sanitation issues, with ongoing inspections of other correctional facilities in the state.


The commissioner attributed the recent cholera outbreak in Lagos to unregulated street beverages and contaminated water supplies. Samples collected from street beverages revealed the presence of Vibrio cholerae, the bacteria responsible for cholera. “All containers lacked NAFDAC accreditation numbers, indicating informal production units,” Abayomi stated. He added that efforts are underway to identify and shut down these unregulated production sites, with plans to arrest those involved in manufacturing or distributing beverages without proper accreditation.


Abayomi highlighted a significant reduction in daily cholera cases since the peak two weeks ago. He noted that while there is still low-grade community transmission, no new cholera-related deaths have been reported in the past 72 hours. The commissioner emphasized that ongoing interventions are showing positive results, and public adherence to health guidelines is crucial.


Lagos State’s interagency “One Health” approach is central to its strategy, involving environmental health measures in collaboration with the Lagos Water Corporation and sanitation agencies (LAWMA and LASWAMO). These measures include sanitation efforts, borehole inspections and disinfection, provision of safe drinking water, and stricter regulations for local beverage manufacturers.


Going forward, higher sanitary and regulatory standards for eateries, food handlers, beverage manufacturers, and groundwater sources will be enforced. “Approved by Mr. Governor, these measures aim to reduce the burden of food and water-borne diseases in Lagos,” Abayomi said.


The commissioner urged the public to remain vigilant and comply with health precautions, emphasizing the importance of consuming safe water, food, and beverages, maintaining good personal hygiene, and seeking immediate medical attention for symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting. He reassured that cholera treatment is free at all government hospitals.


Abayomi expressed confidence that through ongoing collaboration, vigilance, and commitment from all stakeholders, Lagos State will effectively control the spread of cholera, ensuring the health and well-being of its residents.

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