HeadlinesHealth

Cholera Outbreak: Under-five Children At Risk — UNICEF

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has stated that children under the age of five are particularly vulnerable to severe dehydration and higher mortality rates during cholera outbreaks.

A statement by the Chief of UNICEF Lagos Field Office, Celine Lafoucrier, on Saturday, said addressing the challenges of cholera outbreaks requires a deliberate focus of state policies to provide high-standard water and sanitation facilities, as well as strengthened healthcare systems capable of responding to the demand in times of outbreaks.

She added that the state should lead educational campaigns on cholera prevention to protect children and the population at large.

“Recurrent Cholera outbreaks critically affect children and populations at large. These vulnerable groups face substantial health risks, particularly those under five who are prone to severe dehydration and higher mortality rates.

“Educational disruption is yet another critical consequence of cholera outbreaks, as illness and the need to care for sick family members lead to school closures and reduced attendance, hindering children’s learning and development.

“Similarly, post-recovery issues in children can include malnutrition, stunted growth, and weakened immune systems, increasing susceptibility to other diseases,” she said.

Lafoucrier advised that sustainable WASH infrastructure and strengthened health systems capable of anticipating epidemics as well as effective community engagement strategies were crucial to halt transmission.

Lafoucrier explained that the WASH infrastructure includes enhancing water, sanitation, and hygiene infrastructure, implementing rapid surveillance, promoting social mobilisation, administering treatment, and utilising oral cholera vaccines.

“Ultimately, preventing cholera centres on good sanitation and hygiene practices. Key actions include proper disposal of faeces, eliminating open defecation, and ensuring access to potable water. Regular handwashing with clean, running water and soap is vital.

“Additionally, avoiding the consumption of uncooked vegetables, unwashed fruits, raw or undercooked seafood, and food from street vendors is important to reduce the risk of cholera infection, she said.

She maintained that increasing access to safe drinking water, improving sanitation and hygiene, and better water management could prevent almost one-tenth of the global disease burden.

While speaking on how disease outbreaks could affect Nigeria’s progress on achieving the SDG three, Lafoucrier revealed that “Disease outbreaks ultimately hinder Nigeria’s progress in achieving health-related Sustainable Development Goals. These outbreaks strain Nigeria’s health system, diverting limited resources from essential services like routine immunisations and maternal and childcare, undermining universal health coverage.”

She revealed that good water and sanitation infrastructure played a crucial role in reducing disease outbreaks, such as cholera, which causes an estimated 100,000 deaths annually.

Advertisements

Follow Lagos Post Online Channel on WhatsApp:

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker