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    Saturday, June 22, 2024

    Cholera Outbreak: Nigeria Runs Short of Vaccine as Death Toll Hits 40

    As the death toll from the latest cholera outbreak hits 40, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) reports that the country does not have adequate vaccines to combat the cholera outbreak in the country.

    According to Dr. Jide Idris, Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Nigeria has placed an order for additional cholera vaccines from donor agencies; however, the delivery date is yet unknown.

    The NCDC director emphasised the importance of the country adopting vaccines and other preventive measures to combat the spread of acute diarrhoea.

    Cholera is a food- and water-borne disease caused by ingesting the bacterium Vibrio cholerae from contaminated water and food.

    At least 4,364 people have died out of 139,730 Nigerians suspected of being infected with the disease throughout the country during the last four years.

    The incidence rate was calculated using weekly cholera situation reports given by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control between 2021 and 2024.

    The NCDC alerted the public to the increasing trend of cholera cases across the country as the rainy season intensified. In a statement signed by Idris on Thursday, June 13, 2024, the agency said that from January 1 to June 11, 2024, a total of 1,141 suspected cases, 65 confirmed cases, and 30 deaths from cholera had been reported from 96 local government areas in 30 states of the federation.

    The NCDC listed the 10 states that contributed 90 percent to the burden of cholera as Bayelsa, Zamfara, Abia, Cross River, Bauchi, Delta, Katsina, Imo, Nasarawa, and Lagos.

    However, speaking on Saturday, the NCDC boss said that while it is the National Primary Health Care Development Agency that is dealing with the issue of cholera vaccines, he is aware that the health minister has requested more vaccines from donor agencies.

    “I know that the minister has requested more vaccines. But I don’t know when they will come because other countries also make requests internationally. I know that when they come, NPHCDA will decide how to distribute or use them.

    “We don’t have enough to prevent an outbreak because we need to give these things before that time. The problem is that to get vaccines, we need to plan ahead, and we don’t have the funds. Most countries plan ahead. When it comes to health security, we are supposed to stockpile some things in anticipation of an emergency.

    “We don’t manufacture vaccines. We get them from donor agencies, just like any other country does. Whatever they supply will not be enough for us to use, and in any case, it doesn’t give long-lasting immunity, so it has to be a combination of all control measures.

    “The minister has requested support for these vaccines. He told me that last week. When they will come, I don’t know. However, we don’t necessarily have to rely on all those things if we can adopt other control measures,” the NCDC boss said.

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