Angela Akanwa (Ph.D) in Nigeria Coalition for Eco-social Health Research (NCEHR)

The Ministry of Health has confirmed that about 30 communities in Bayelsa State have been affected by the spread of an epidemic killing 19 persons since 4th of April, 2021. The most affected area is Yenagoa Local Government Area (LGA), where the epidemic has been heavily felt. Currently, as at time of writing this article, 30 communities have been affected by the outbreak of Cholera. Opinions drawn from the residents on the cause of the epidemic were traced to the poor environmental quality of the communities. These communities were mostly squatter settlements that are unplanned, unhygienic and poorly ventilated lacking vital facilities, e.g., water supply and electricity. Also, the squatter settlements, with the high rate of rodents and other disease carrying animals, heightens possibility of zoonotic diseases, increasing the agitation of the community members over the heightened death rates in the area. The Government of the state have supplied oral Cholera vaccines while establishing a Rapid Response Teams (RRT) in the affected communities. This is to ensure that the acute cases of gastroenteritis -cholera is controlled. Also, the state, who has partnered with World Health Organization (WHO) have supplied vaccines to local government headquarters to facilitate healthcare facilities to support the management of the outbreak. There are speculations that the recent oil spills and poisoned waters, fishes could have had resultant impacts on the health risks leading to epidemic outbreak as well. This calls for proper environmental analysis and treatment of source of water supply ingested by the public. The use of clean and safe water is expedient, as well as to maintain the quality of the environment, hygiene and sanitary conditions to prevent the further transmission of water borne diseases such as cholera in the state.
May 8th, 2021-Dr Angela Akanwa in Nigeria Coalition for Eco-social Health Research (NCEHR)