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Medium security costodian centre receiving solid waste management kits and cartons of laundary soap in Bauchi LGA © Action contre la Faim Nigeria

Headline

Nigeria

Rapid emergency response to Cholera affected communities in Bauchi State

With news of Cholera outbreak reported in Bauchi state, in the North of Nigeria, Action Against Hunger carried out an assessment and identified drinking of contaminated water and open defecation to be the major causes of the outbreak. According to the Bauchi State Primary Health Care Agency, Cholera has killed not less than 55 persons with about 1800 persons affected in 15 Local Government with Bauchi and Toro LGA having the highest cases of Cholera as at July 2021.

Within 30 days, Action Against Hunger intervened in selected Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Bauchi and Kano States with the funding support of Start Fund. These LGAs include Sumaila, Kiru, Kano and Gaya in Kano State and Bauchi and Toro in Bauchi State. Reactivating the local rapid response team; conducting hygiene promotion campaigns; ensuring the supply of clean and potable water to households and institutions, Action Against Hunger team swung into action.

25,080 individuals including 137 persons with disabilities have been reached with the provision of emergency chlorinated water.

 

Cholera caused by poor water, sanitation and hygiene situation; our future is at hand

 

In Bauchi state, 20% of households rely on unimproved water sources for their domestic use while only 15% use improved drinking water sources accessible within their premises. Open defecation, poor environmental sanitation, poor personal and food hygiene, inadequate safe water supply and leakage along pipelines due to ongoing expansion of metropolitan water supply remain the leading causes and spread of the Cholera outbreak. The case is similar in Kano state where about 28% of households use unimproved water sources for their domestic use and 20% of households have access to improved drinking water sources accessible within their premises.

 

Preventing cholera for everyone: a combined approach

 

Action Against Hunger deploys its programme in a way that the water, hygiene and sanitation needs of affected households and communities are met.

“Handwashing at all times”, from the Coronavirus epidemic to the Cholera outbreak, the message is the same and at the heart of ensuring that, all communities are safe and free from transmittable and preventable diseases. Action Against Hunger’s Rapid Response team identified households where Cholera cases have been treated and their environs were disinfected. Aqua tabs – pills that disinfect water – were provided to these households to ensure the use of safely treated water.

Upon leaving the health facility, patients received Cholera hygiene kits, which served as the first line of support to promote recovery. At home, community members learnt about Cholera transmission, identifying the signs and symptoms of Cholera to prevent further spread through the radio and other awareness raising programmes. Household hygiene sensitization remains critical to reinforcing awareness of Cholera prevention.

Medium security costodian centre receiving solid waste management kits and cartons of laundary soap in Bauchi LGA © Action contre la Faim Nigeria

Nigeria

Medium security Correctional Facility custodian receiving solid waste management kits and cartons of laundry soap in Bauchi LGA donated by Action Against Hunger

Reaching crowded places to avoid the spread of diseases

 

Overcrowded camps and facilities increase Cholera transmission. The breakdown of Bauchi State water facility led to inadequate supply to the correctional centre and some neighbouring communities. The 1,000-capacity correctional centre recorded eight cases admitted to the Cholera treatment centre. Action Against Hunger intervened by supplying 460,000 litres of water to increase access to safe chlorinated drinking water to over one thousand persons in the centre, even exceeding set emergency standards.

Four thousand tablets of aqua tabs were also donated to the correctional centre to support storage and promote treatment and access to safe drinking water at all times. 12 Oral Rehydration Points (ORP) were also set up at designated primary healthcare centres in hotspot locations within Bauchi LGA reinforcing support to patients and community members suffering from diarrhoea.

 

Working together to stop Cholera

 

Responding to disease outbreaks are challenging, and successful interventions cannot be achieved without effective and efficient partnership. Action Against Hunger recognized the role of local structures, government agencies, INGOs and other civil societies to adequately deliver assistance to affected populations. From engaging the Bauchi state Environmental Protection Agency for the emptying of latrines to identifying caseloads from Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) to ensure effective contact tracing. The partnership enabled Action Against Hunger to identify patients’ households to visit and disinfect. Community health volunteers were essential in further

combatting the spread in Bauchi and Toro LGAs. These volunteers were trained to conduct hygiene promotion sensitization and active case management. Action Against Hunger also supported the state ministry of health to set up regular coordination meetings and trained the state/LGA rapid response team. The State Primary Healthcare Development Agency provided the working space and a warehouse to store the Cholera hygiene kits distributed to households. The primary healthcare level remains essential in achieving universal health and prevention coverage.

Health workers Traning Hazibal suites new GRA Bauchi 5 © Action contre la Faim Nigeria

Nigeria

Health workers training in Bauchi state, June 2021

Health worker as the backbone of a strong health system

 

Skilled health workers are the backbones of strong and resilient health systems. Action Against Hunger trained health care workers from the different primary healthcare centres to identify and manage Cholera cases.

The timely intervention has increased community members’ awareness of Cholera and preventive measures to stay safe. To ensure improved access to water and basic sanitation services, WASH should be invested in and prioritized by all sectors. Action Against Hunger continues to strengthen the capacity of the government and communities at all levels as well as stakeholders to effectively deliver interventions for the good of everyone.

Outbreaks know no border and they spread faster than can be imagined thereby requiring extended period of intervention. Currently, Action Against Hunger has received additional funding to strengthen the work done in Bauchi and Kano states as well as expand to new locations which include Jigawa, Sokoto, Yobe and the Federal Capital Territory. The Cholera outbreak is the worst Nigeria has ever experienced with Bauchi, Kano and Jigawa States accounting for 48% of all

cumulative cases as at September 2021. There is no better time than now to emphasize the power of effective handwashing practices to save lives and ensure a healthier future for everyone. Action Against Hunger in collaboration with USAID Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance and Johns Hopkins University is also working on a research to determine the effectiveness of our methodology on the case area targeted intervention case.

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