By Olukayode Michael, Adamawa

The World Health Organization (WHO has deployed 39 staff with plans underway to engage additional 15 ad-hoc personnel, to rapidly contain a confirmed outbreak of cholera in Mubi North and South local government areas (LGAs) of Adamawa state.

“We have swiftly deployed technical staff to coordinate partners’ response to the current outbreak, support case management, surveillance and contact tracing of suspected cases to guide interventions and ensure that the outbreak does not spread to other locations,” says Dr Wondimagegnehu Alemu, WHO Representative (WR) to Nigeria.
As of 26 May 2018, 434 suspected cases, amongst which 13 deaths have been reported in the affected areas. This has necessitated the health authority to activate an Emergency Operations Centre for concerted response and rapid decision-making.
“The transmission rate of the ongoing cholera outbreak in Adamawa state is indeed worrisome,” “Notwithstanding, WHO is leveraging on its past experience and lessons learnt in controlling major cholera outbreaks in internally displaced persons camps and host communities, especially in Borno and Yobe states, he added.
WHO is coordinating the response activities, including active surveillance within communities and health facilities, case management of reported cases as well as daily review meeting at the Emergency Operations Centre, to ensure timely control of the outbreak.
For her part, Adamawa state Commissioner for Health Dr Fatima Atiku Abubakar emphasized that the state health authority is collaborating with WHO and other partners to ensure that the outbreak currently reported from 12 wards of Mubi North and South LGAs is controlled.
“In response to the ongoing cholera transmission in parts of Mubi North and South, we have activated all the relevant sectors including WASH, designated a cholera treatment centre at General Hospital in Mubi North LGA and activated an Emergency Operations Centre to rapidly interrupt the transmission,” said Dr Atiku Abubakar. “These efforts are already yielding results indicated by a decline in the trend of case fatality ratio which was 17% as of 12 May 2018 but reduced to 3% in less than 2 weeks”, she added.
Since the onset of the outbreak, WHO has been actively coordinating response activities, including daily review meeting at the Emergency Operations Centre, active surveillance in communities and health facilities and case management to ensure timely control of the outbreak.
Other activities ongoing to bring the outbreak under control include house-to-house sensitization by mothers in host communities. Traditional and religious leaders have also been sensitized while media announcements are underway to ensure people in the communities are aware of the risk of cholera, how it spreads and how to prevent it. Cholera is relatively easy to treat, but it can also kill quickly if not treated promptly. This is why it is so important that the populations are aware of its dangers, and the importance of immediate rehydration if infected.
Although, reported cases are still contained in Mubi North and South LGAs with a decline in case fatality ratio, more efforts are needed and urgently too, as the incidence rate soars daily to avoid spread to other parts of the state.
Adamawa is one of the most affected states in the ongoing insurgency in northeast Nigeria. According to WHO Health Resources Availability Mapping System (HeRAMS), only 45% of 1,120 health facilities are fully functional and overstretched in a situation where 1.6 million people are in need of various humanitarian support including health.