Displaced by devastating floods, Nigerians are forced to use floodwater despite cholera risk
Residents of the Lower Niger River delta area have been forced to drink floodwater without any protection from malaria, tuberculosis and cholera
Nigerians in the lower river delta area are facing major health threats from floods even though the risk of cholera has fallen due to a recent campaign to vaccinate residents against the disease, according to a new study.
In a bid to avert an outbreak of cholera among flood-stricken communities, the government of the delta has distributed free malaria vaccines, anti-tuberculosis drugs, and vitamin B to flood victims. But the health threats caused by the deluge are far from over, the study has found.
With floods and drought continuing to wreak havoc and disease spreading through the region, the situation is likely to get much worse as the rainy season continues, it says.
“Our work was done in four districts – the Lower Niger River Delta and the four states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Kano and Sokoto,” said the study’s lead author Dr. Olugbenga Oludunobi of the University of Lagos.
“We interviewed a total of 1,000 people – including both patients and health workers – in the study area. We conducted these interviews in the five weeks between August 27 and September 19, 2016.”
“During this period it rained in the region every day. However, in the study area it was more concentrated and more intense rain during the last few days.
“The rainy season is just about to come to an end but with heavy rains more than 80 per cent of the country is facing severe floods in their towns, villages and localities in the delta and surrounding areas,” he added.
The research has been carried out as part of Nigeria’s response to the Ebola virus which has infected nearly 1,800 people in the country and led to the death of nearly 1,800 more, with nearly a million people living asymptomatic.