From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja

Following the rising cases of cholera in the country, the European Union (EU) has disclosed its support for the Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA) to the tune of N192 million (€400,000) in its ongoing efforts to reduce fatality rates in Yobe state.

The EU, in a statement by the Regional Information Officer for West and Central Africa, European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), Hilaire Avril, said as of 26 September 2021, over 88,563 suspected cases of cholera and 3,057 suspected deaths were reported in Nigeria.

The EU added that 78 per cent of the states in the country have reported suspected cholera cases, even as it said children between five and 14 years old were the most affected, while the North-East state of Yobe has recorded one of the highest incidences.

Following the development, Head of the EU Humanitarian Aid Office in Nigeria, Bart Witteveen, said: ‘The EU’s support will allow our partner, ALIMA, to strengthen case management, to reduce fatality rates, as well as to support referrals from communities or to ensure access to safe water and sanitation in health facilities.’

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The EU further said the current outbreak has spread over the border with Niger, causing an additional challenge as the health system is also under pressure due to the current malaria season.

‘The intense rain season increases the risk of flooding and of malnutrition cases,’ the EU also said.

ALIMA’s Medical Coordinator in Nigeria, Dr Anthelme Seka, also said: ‘This support from the European Union is critical because it will help save more lives. Thanks to this funding, ALIMA is already able to begin its actions on the ground to respond to the ongoing outbreak, with the sole objective being to provide quality emergency medical care to the most affected local communities.

‘Furthermore, access to vulnerable communities for cholera vaccination is increasingly challenging, due to insecurity triggering population movements in the country’s northern regions. The situation is further worsened by the overlap with the COVID-19 pandemic,’ the EU further said.