Cholera: Improve access to WASH, gastroenterologist appeals to government 

A Consultant Gastroenterologist, Dr Mbang Kooffreh-Ada, has said adequate access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) remains the sustainable solution to reducing the transmission of cholera cases and deaths in the country.

Kooffreh-Ada, who works at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, said this in an interview on Sunday in Lagos.

A gastroenterologist is a medical practitioner, who specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the gastrointestinal tract and related organs.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), cholera is an acute diarrhoeal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae.

Cholera can cause severe acute watery diarrhea and the severe forms of the disease can kill within hours if left untreated.

Kooffreh-Ada warned that, “medical interventions alone won’t solve the underlying issues leading to cholera outbreaks”,  adding that cholera is an indicator of inequity and lack of social development.

She stated the need for the government at all levels to prioritise access to potable water for citizens through the establishment of water boards to supply clean and hygiene pipe borne water to homes.

“We’re in the middle of the rainy season and you have a lot of runoff water from the heavy downpour which can contaminate water sources, especially in communities where they practice defecation.

“Many households do not have access to clean pipe borne public water supply from water boards in each of the states where water engineers chlorinate and purify the water.

“Creating a functioning water board in all states would be an avenue to nip this particular problem in the bud,” she said.

The gastroenterologist stressed that open defecation and indiscriminate sewage disposal should be discouraged and laws to punish defaulters put in place to serve as a deterrent to would-be offenders.

The agency disclosed that 10 states contributed 90 per cent to the burden of cholera listing the states to include Bayelsa, Zamfara, Abia, Cross River, Bauchi, Delta, Katsina, Imo, Nasarawa and Lagos. (NAN)