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Borno, WHO Declare End to Four-Month Cholera Outbreak

The Borno State government and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have declared an end to a four-month cholera outbreak that killed almost 400 people in the Northeastern Nigerian state.

Within the period that started from September 17 to December 23, 2022, the state recorded 12,496 confirmed cases with 394 deaths (confirmed 288, suspected 106) from 17 out of 27 Local Government Areas (LGAs).

The State Director of Public Health, Dr Goni Abba, says the announcement follows the successive decline in cases below the emergency threshold and an epidemiological review carried out in collaboration with WHO.

Given the epidemiology of cholera in Nigeria, this does not mean that new cases of the disease would not be detected in the state as the year goes by.

Dr Abba, however, reiterates the state’s commitment to ensuring a reduction in cholera deaths through vaccination, strengthened disease surveillance, early detection, and appropriate treatment.

He expressed gratitude to WHO and other partners that collaborated with Borno state in managing the cholera outbreak from when it was confirmed and reported till it was declared over.

“I would like to appreciate WHO technical officers for their leadership and guidance in containing the outbreak. Although the emergency phase is over, I appeal to all health partners to work in synergy to build a sustainable health response that will save lives,” he said.

Furthermore, the WHO Northeast Emergency Manager, Dr Beatrice Muraguri, mentioned that the WHO technical officers had been part of the cholera emergency response since the first cases were reported.

According to her, cholera is one of the fatal endemic diseases ravaging the lives of the most vulnerable people, and the prompt cholera coordination by the Borno state government yielded a viable result.

“The outbreak was declared over after there were no cases reported following weeks of heightened surveillance in the affected LGAs. This provides an opportunity to review lessons learned and strengthen our public health preparedness, detection, surveillance, and response for the upcoming rainy season,” she said.

WHO added that it would continue to work towards the 2030-Global Roadmap for Ending Cholera by providing technical guidance to the state government and preparing preposition kits to avert cholera outbreaks from occurring.

To contain the outbreak, WHO supported Borno State by donating 85 foldable beds for emergency treatments, led the coordination of health partners during the outbreak response, provided life-saving intervention by strengthening the capacity of 516 healthcare workers to improve the surveillance system, raising public awareness through risk communication and community engagement which contributed to early reporting of cases and management across the hotspots LGAs.

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