OGUN State Government has blamed open defecation for the 217 cases of cholera recorded in Ijebu North, Abeokuta North and Abeokuta South Local Government Areas of the state.
The government blamed open defecation for the spread of the disease, stating that faecal materials find their way into shallow wells in various communities.
In an attempt to curtail the recent outbreak of cholera in Ijebu North and Abeokuta, the state government said it has begun chlorinating wells in the affected areas.
The State Ministry of Health has also collaborated with the Ministry of Environment and other relevant government agencies to contain the spread of the deadly disease.
The Commissioner for Health, Tomi Coker, made this known during a stakeholders meeting in Abeokuta on Wednesday.
Coker maintained that there is a need to adopt a multi-sectoral strategy to eliminate the spread of cholera, adding that officials of the State Public Health Department are educating residents on essential hygiene practices to prevent the disease.
She disclosed that, “217 cases of the disease have been recorded in Ijebu-North LGA, with a few cases reported in Abeokuta North last week, revealing that two cases of cholera were recorded in Abeokuta South LGA three days ago.”
The commissioner attributed the cause of the outbreak to “open defecation, poor waste management, and inadequate water sources” in the affected local government areas.
She said: “It is unfortunate that our people still engage in open defecation, unaware that faecal materials enter shallow wells, which many of them use as water sources.
“For instance, in Ijebu-North Local Government, we found 52 shallow wells and microbiological testing revealed that 75 percent of these wells had evidence of faecal contamination with coliform bacteria.
“We will work with our colleagues in the Environment Ministry to ensure sanitation, promote the use of appropriate sanitary facilities in homes, and construct sanitary wells.
“These wells should be well-built and less likely to be contaminated by faecal material, especially during the period of incessant rainfall and flooding, which washes faecal materials into our water sources.”
Coker advised Ogun residents to stop open defecation, construct affordable toilets and sanitary wells in their homes, and warned that the government may seal houses without toilets in the interest of public health.
The Commissioner further advised residents to boil their water, cover it when stored, wash their hands before eating, cook their food thoroughly, and dispose of waste properly, as these measures will help ensure that every community in the state remains cholera-free.
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