No fewer than 30 children died following a fresh outbreak of diarrhea in Imo State. Diarrhea is relatively common in remote parts of the state, where clean and drinking water is often scarce with residents frequently relying on water from streams and uncertified boreholes.
Speaking yesterday, when she received a delegation from the Nigerian Agip Oil Company Limited, the state Commissioner for Health, Mrs. Ngozi Njoku, said the death toll from the latest outbreak had risen to 30 in the last few weeks, while several other children also suspected to have been affected by the scourge were receiving treatment in various hospitals in the state. Four children died last month as a result of the infection at Nekede, Owerri- West.
The Commissioner, however, said 65 suspected cases had been reported at Ikeduru Council Area, while areas like Orlu, Owerri- West, Ohaji-Egbema, Owerri-North and Ngor Okpala, have also recorded cases of the diarrhoea outbreak.
She added that the disease was as a result of climatic change explaining that, “it is a viral infection that affects a lot of children, leading to vomiting and stooling. It is called in medicine, Gastro enteritis”. Njoku stated that poor hygiene was largely the primary cause of the repeated outbreaks in the state. She said “We got this report last week.
However, this outbreak started sometime in January but we didn’t think it was that serious because we were pre-occupied with the Lassa fever challenge.
By the time we were done with the Lassa fever issue, we started receiving reports of diarrhoea cases. So many children are now admitted in the hospital and in the ministry; we have so many cases under watch.’’
Continuing, she said: ‘’Yesterday, we got the report of the 65 cases from Ikeduru. Apart from Ikeduru; Orlu, Owerri-West and several other council areas have reported incidents of diarrhea.
According to Njoku, the state government has concluded arrangement to go to Njaba Council Area for an outreach programme today, to ‘give vaccines to over 500 ailing children.’