The Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Health, Kemi Ogunyemi, has reported an alarming increase in fatalities from the ongoing Cholera outbreak in the state. Speaking on Thursday after a meeting with members of the Lagos State Public Health Emergency Operations Centre (PHEOC), Ogunyemi confirmed that the death toll has risen to 21. This is an increase from the previous count of 15 deaths, while the number of suspected cholera cases has surged to 401, up from 350.

Ogunyemi disclosed that the worst-hit areas include Lagos Island, Kosofe, and Eti Osa, which are experiencing the highest numbers of cases. She attributed the rise in cases partly to the recent Ileya festivities, which involved large gatherings that facilitated the spread of the disease. However, she noted that the number of suspected cases is beginning to decline in some local government areas, thanks to the proactive interventions and surveillance efforts by the state government.

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The Special Adviser highlighted the comprehensive measures being taken by the Lagos State Government to control the outbreak. She explained that the Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the State Ministry of Environment and its agency, the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), is actively collecting samples of water, food, and beverages to pinpoint the source of contamination. Enhanced surveillance activities in affected communities are also underway to tackle the issue directly.

Furthermore, Ogunyemi emphasized the importance of cross-sector collaboration in combating the outbreak. She mentioned that the state is working closely with the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education and the Ministry of Tertiary Education to ensure that all necessary precautions are implemented in schools as students return. This multi-faceted approach aims to protect children and scholars from the disease.

Ogunyemi urged residents to remain vigilant and maintain good hygiene practices, including regular hand washing and participation in community sanitation efforts, to help prevent the spread of cholera. She also advised citizens to seek immediate medical attention if they experience symptoms such as watery diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, general malaise, and fever. She reassured the public that cholera treatment is available free of charge at all public health facilities in Lagos.

The Special Adviser also highlighted the unwavering commitment of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to providing quality and affordable healthcare to all residents of Lagos. She expressed gratitude to local, national, and international partners, including UNICEF, WHO, NCDC, NIMR, Red Cross, and others, for their invaluable support in managing the outbreak.

Ogunyemi extended her appreciation to the dedicated healthcare professionals and volunteers who are tirelessly working to combat the cholera outbreak. “We are deeply grateful to the team of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, lab scientists, environmental health officers, Water Corporation officers, surveillance officers, heads of agencies, members of PHEOC, and volunteers who are working around the clock to ensure the safety and health of Lagos residents,” she said.

In conclusion, the state government is committed to maintaining rigorous surveillance and implementing strategic programs to curb the spread of cholera. Ogunyemi’s update serves as a crucial reminder of the importance of community cooperation and the continuous efforts of health and environmental officials to safeguard public health. The proactive measures and collaborative efforts across various sectors underscore the resolve to address and mitigate the impact of this outbreak in Lagos.