Lagos - Some medical experts have urged governments at all levels to reintroduce sanitary inspection to control further outbreak of cholera and other communicable diseases.
They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in interviews in Lagos that the fight against cholera required concerted efforts by all tiers of government and Nigerians in general.
Wikipedia, the free online dictionary, describes cholera as an infection of the small intestine caused by the bacterium `Vibrio cholerae' with the main symptoms as watery diarrhoea and vomiting.
Transmission occurs primarily through drinking water or eating food that has been contaminated by the faeces of an infected person, including one with no apparent symptoms.
Dr Adewunmi Alayaki, a general physician at Isolo General Hospital, Lagos, emphasised the need to strengthen the sanitary inspectors for proper monitoring of the environment, to prevent cholera.
“We know there are people saddled with the responsibility of sanitary inspection, not only in the North, but also in other parts of the country.”
“This has to be revived. There is the need for border surveillance, monitoring and inspection of our environments for early detection of diseases outbreak,” he said.
Also, Dr Femi Afolabi, a dietician at the Federal Medical Centre, Ido-Ekiti, said that more efforts should be made to educate food vendors on appropriate and hygienic ways of food preparation.
Afolabi advised the public to boil their drinking water and also wash their vegetables before consumption, to avoid contacting the disease.
The dietician also urged people to maintain clean and healthy environment to prevent cholera epidemic and outbreak of other communicable diseases.
In his comment, Dr Femi Balogun, the Medical Director, Sheffi Private Hospital, Egbeda, Lagos, urged Lagos residents to provide standard toilet facilities in their respective homes for healthy living.
He said that regular sensitisation and awareness campaigns to educate residents on good hygienic practices were being carried out by health personnel.
Balogun said that sanitary inspectors should be mandated to ensure that every house had toilet facility.
NAN reports that some parts of the country - Plateau, Sokoto, Zamfara, Ogun, Oyo and Lagos States - had in the last few weeks been plagued with cholera epidemic.
In July, five people were reported dead in Ogun, while eight people died and 12 others hospitalised in Egbeda Local Government area of Oyo State in September.
The disease also infected no fewer than 536 people and killed 46 in Zamfara in October.
In Plateau State, nine people died out of the 86 in some parts of Lagos State.
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, said that the state had recorded three deaths out of the 13 cases reported in more than five local government areas of the state.
Idris said: “Although, many of the cases have been treated and patients discharged in several health facilities, three have been confirmed dead.”
“Surveillance and investigation discovered that a large number of the cases came from Amuwo-Odofin, Apapa, Lagos Island, Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Oshodi-Isolo and Surulere Local Government areas.”
He said that further surveillance and investigation, especially in Oshodi-Isolo and Surulere Local Government areas, identified African food salad, popularly called ‘Abacha’, as the suspected source of the disease.
“Water was the source in Ikare community in Amuwo-Odofin, and Apapa Local Government areas,” Idris said.