With more than 1000 suspected and confirmed cases of cholera including 30 deaths in Borno state as of 07 Sept 2017, World Health Organization (WHO) has intensified its response efforts to contain the outbreak in Muna internally displaced persons (IDPs)camp in Maiduguri, Jere, Monguno and Dikwa local government areas (LGAs).

Prior to the outbreak, WHO had prepositioned Inter-agency Diarrheal Disease Kits across the state for immediate response to diarrhea and cholera outbreaks and has trained health workers including doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians and pharmacists on cholera case management, and infection prevention and control (IPC). These kits and health workers are boosting capacity for rapid response, including treatment of people with the disease in the affected camps and localities.

As the outbreak escalates, WHO is also scaling-up its response framework by deploying a team of already trained field volunteers, LGA facilitators, and mobile health teams to support in early detection, sample collection and line listing of suspected cholera cases. Without early detection and rapid response, the ongoing cholera outbreak can spread rapidly to areas other where access to safe water, sanitary and hygiene conditions are poor as it is currently in many parts of Borno state due to the current crisis.

“We are not just keeping up with cases but also expanding our response framework including personnel to achieve early detection and prevent further spread of cholera in Borno state,” said WHO Emergency Manager, Dr Collins Owili.

“WHO is taking critical steps towards achieving containment of the ongoing outbreak by deploying its field volunteers and mobile health teams to support active case search, contact tracing, sample collection, line listing of suspected cases and geo-coordinate mapping of affected areas to inform targeted and rapid response”, he added.

With logistics support from WHO and partners, the Ministry of Health has set up cholera treatment centre and Oral Rehydration Points (ORP) in Muna IDPs camp. Risk communications activities, as well as active media are underway to ensure people in the communities are aware of the risk of cholera, how to prevent it and the importance of seeking treatment when they experience the symptoms.

Due to the rainy season and risk of spread not only within the IDPs camps, but also in the surrounding area, WHO is facilitating a request for 950 000 doses of oral cholera vaccine to the International Coordinating Group by the government of Nigeria for the first round of planned campaign. Furthermore, WHO has trained 213 health workers, including members of rapid response team (RRT), laboratory scientists, clinicians and public health workers on identifying and treating cholera.

For more information please visit WHO Africa website http://www.afro.who.int/