The Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) will submit a cholera vaccination application to the International Coordinating Group (ICG) and the Global Task Force for Cholera Control (GTFCC).
The Director General of the NCDC, Dr. Chike Ihekweazu, told the Nigerian News Agency (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja that the center would also submit the application to the National Agency for the Development of Primary Health Care.
NAN reports that the ICG was established in 1997 following major outbreaks of meningitis in Africa as a mechanism to manage and coordinate the provision of emergency vaccines and antibiotics to countries in the event of major outbreaks.
Since 2013, the ICG for Cholera has managed the global inventory of oral cholera vaccine, which was created as an additional tool to combat cholera epidemics.
It works closely with vaccine manufacturers through WHO and UNICEF and tracks disease trends.
Ihekweazu noted with concern that cholera deaths had risen to 1,768 by August 15.
Since the beginning of 2021, 47,603 suspected cases have also been reported from 23 states.
Ihekweazu said the center will soon conduct training on cholera monitoring, hotspot mapping, and developing preparedness and response plans at the state level before subsequent cases.
“Cholera cases have been reported in Benue, Delta, Zamfara, Gombe, Bayelsa, Kogi, Sokoto, Bauchi, Kano, Kaduna and Plateau.
“Others are Kebbi, Cross River, Niger, Nasarawa, Jigawa, Yobe, Kwara, Enugu, Adamawa, Katsina, Borno, Taraba, and the Federal Capital Territory.
“The cases have been reported since the beginning of the year. Most affected were people between the ages of five and 14, 51 percent male and 49 percent female.
“We also confirm that the number of new cases fell 21 percent by week 32 of the year.
“Bauchi reported 1,306, Jigawa 714 and Kebbi 325, which account for 78.6 percent of the 2,984 suspected cases reported at Week 32,” he said.
Ihekweazu said the center had experienced difficulties in accessing some communities with the necessary interventions due to security issues, stressing that open defecation in the communities had also made an important contribution.
The NCDC chief pointed out that the lack of drinking water in rural communities, insufficient labor for the cholera outbreak, and inadequate vaccine for affected areas were viewed by local government as challenges in responding to the outbreak.
Meanwhile, he said Nigerians could access his toll-free number, which has been changed to “Dial 6232 for FREE”
“Contact our 24/7 Connect Center for verified information on Lassa Fever, Cholera, Meningitis, COVID19, Yellow Fever and other infectious diseases.
“Please try to use the responsible toll-free number, as we continue to take responsibility,” he demanded.
To reduce the risk of cholera, according to the NCDC, people need to ensure that the water is boiled and kept in a clean and safe container before drinking it.
The center also advises good personal hygiene through frequent hand washing with soap under clean running water, among other things.