Dr Janet Ekpenyong, Director General (D-G), Cross River Primary Healthcare Care Agency, has confirmed the death of seven children from cholera in the state.
Ekpenyong, who confirmed the deaths in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Wednesday in Calabar, said the agency recorded more than 600 suspected cases in the state between March and April.
“Over 600 suspected cases were detected and we had a Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) conducted on them. We also did a microscopic test and culture to have a true confirmation of the cases.
“We confirmed that most of the cases were not cholera related, though we had three active cases of the disease in Ogoja Local Government Area (LGA).
“Whenever we go for medical outreach and detect suspected cases of cholera with symptoms such as diarrhoea, we take samples immediately.
“Thereafter, the rapid diagnostic test is carried out and treatment is initiated immediately.
“Over the past two months, we have actually had seven deaths occurring as a result of cholera,” she said.
Ekpenyong said that treatment was initiated after samples were collected for the microscopic tests, but sadly, however, some of the children died before the results were out.
According to the DG, the children are the most vulnerable to diarrhoea, because they play mostly with dirt and still use their hands to eat without washing them.
On sensitisation, Ekpenyong told NAN that her goal was working with the National Orientation Agency and other partners to sensitise mothers on the importance of maintaining hygienic habits and drinking clean water.
She noted that most of the cases were as a result of drinking unclean water that had been contaminated by faeces from open defecation, especially in rural areas without toilets.
She said that since most rural dwellers depended on water from the streams, it was important for people from such communities to boil such water before drinking.
The DG also told NAN that the agency was partnering with relevant agencies for the sinking of boreholes in some communities, with a view to providing portable drinking water for them.