The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), has issued an advisory to the public containing 10 key messages that would help in preventing potential spread of infectious diseases during flooding.
This is coming against the backdrop of the recent warning by Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) that alerted of flooding, which may affect 13 States in Nigeria.
Most of the States are around the Rivers Niger and Benue.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, in a statement on Wednesday, said that flooding is an event of public health interest due to the resultant outcomes of mortality, morbidity, displacement, loss of property and livelihood.
According to Ihekweazu, there is an increased risk of contamination of water supply. He noted that contact with contaminated water increases the risk of transmission of infectious diseases and can lead to outbreaks. Flood sites also provide a breeding ground for disease vectors.
“To reduce the spread of infectious diseases such as cholera and typhoid fever; and vector-borne diseases such as malaria and yellow fever during flooding, the NCDC advises that precautionary measures should be taken, ” he stated.
Chikwe offered 10 key messages to Nigerians:
1. Do not drink flood water, or use it to wash dishes, brush teeth, or wash/prepare food
2. Communities should ensure chlorination of the public source of water supply
3. Ensure proper disposal of waste and clearing of sewage
4. Wash your hands frequently with soap and clean water
5. Discard all medicines, food and bottled water contaminated by flood water
6. In homes, ensure water is well boiled before drinking
7. Avoid open defecation and indiscriminate refuse dumping
8. Avoid mosquito bites by ensuring consistent use of an Insecticide Treated Net
9. Health workers should observe universal care precautions at all time
10. If you experience sudden fever or diarrhea, please visit a health care facility immediately.
The NCDC boss reminded that the Centre was established in the year 2011 in response to the challenges of public health emergencies and to enhance Nigeria’s preparedness and response to epidemics through prevention, detection, and control of communicable diseases. He said its core mandate is to detect, investigate, prevent and control diseases of national and international public health importance.
He listed a toll free line and social media handles further information: 0800-970000-10; SMS: 08099555577; WhatsApp: 07087110839; and Twitter/Facebook: @NCDCgov