Saturday, September 11, 2010

Cholera outbreak in Nigeria

Cholera is normally associated with disaster and war-torn areas and so the current outbreak in Nigeria is particularly worrying and reminds me of the 1991 outbreak in that country when nearly 8,000 people died. The current outbreak has infected over 13,000 people in just two months of which 780 have sadly lost their lives. Latest reports are that the outbreak is spreading to the neighbouring countries of Cameroon, Chad and Niger. The cause appears to be poor sanitation which has been exacerbated by heavy seasonal rainfall contaminating water supplies. Half of Nigeria's population of 150 million is without access to clean water or proper sanitation, putting the whole country at risk from the current outbreak. While death can be prevented by rapid medical intervention, which is difficult in rural areas; cholera can only be contained by good personal hygiene and access to clean water.

The royalties from my book Drinking water Quality go to WaterAid who work in Nigeria to help establish sustainable water supplies and latrines and to influence government policy to serve the interests of vulnerable people. If you can help this wonderful organization then please do.

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