In this article you will read about the THE EFFECT OF CHOLERA ON CHILDREN’S HEALTH IN NORTHERN NIGERIA
THE EFFECT OF CHOLERA ON CHILDREN’S HEALTH IN NORTHERN NIGERIA
Cholera is an epidemic disease caused by bacteria which is generally characterized by severe diarrhoea and dehydration. A person can be susceptible to cholera by consumption of foods especially but not limited to water contaminated with causative bacterium called Vibrio cholera (choleragen). According to WHO (2021), Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium known as Vibrio cholerae.
It is important to note that cholera is waterborne disease and not usually transferred from one individual to another by casual contact. Globally, cholera poses serious threat to mankind, also an indicator of disservice and lack of social development. In 2019, WHO reported the number of cholera cases to be 923 037 while 1911 deaths were notified from 31countries.
In Nigeria, cholera remains a disease of public health importance with attendant effect of high morbidity and mortality. The Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme (NFELTP, 2014) reported increased cases of the disease in Gomani village and Kwali area council (FCT), Abuja. In 2010, Nigeria reported a total number of 41,787 cases with 1716 deaths from 18 northern states with case fatality rate (CFR) of 4.1%.
This outbreak in 2010 was informed by contamination of water supplies with diarrhoea discharge of untreated cholera patients during the rainy season. The most vulnerable parts are rural communities in the northern Nigeria. Although the disease may be asymptomatic or mild, however, acute cholera can cause dehydration and death within few hours of onset undermining the fact that you were healthy before you caught it.
During the infection, Vibrio cholerae when ingested by an individual releases a strong toxin known as cholera toxin (CTX), a protein, into the small intestine.
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This ctx acts as an inhibitor to normal flow of sodium and chloride as it binds to the intestinal walls. The resultant effect of the binding between ctx and the intestinal wall is the secretion of large amount of water which leads to diarrhea and rapid loss or fluid and salts hence dehydration as hallmark of severe cholera Risk factors which increase the likelihood of being affected include the following:
1. Poor hygiene –
- (a) poor sanitation and contaminated water.
- (b) lack of quality covering/packaging of consumables.
- (c) open defecation and illegal dumping of refuse
- (d) practice of digging well (or any source of water for domestic uses) close to sewer system.
2. Low level of stomach acid as this bacteria cannot thrive in highly acidic environments.
3. Consumption of raw seafoods such as perewrinkle, crabs, shellfish etcCommon symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, wrinkled skin, convulsions, coma among others.
The Northern Nigeria recently has suffered cholers outbreak in sokoto and kebb state. This is becoming an endemic disease that proper suivellance and monitoring needed to be accorded it in order to curb the menace of the morbidity and mortality rate.
Tocurb cholera in northern Nigeria, the following can be of help; Regular sensitization to the general public to be aware of destructive effect of cholera, government should place bound on open defecation and illegal dumping of refuse beside residences, markets or along roads, environmental health practioners should enforce good sanitation practices and be ready to punish offenders, supply of treated water should be made available to the public, nursing (especially primiparous) mothers should be encouraged to go for immunization of their children as expected.
Proper education on the importance of good personal hygiene via mass and social media can be of great help for ‘