The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has attributed Cholera outbreak in Rivers State to open defecation practised in parts of the state.
The Chief of Field Officer of the international body, WillBoard Ngambi, said virtually all rural communities and some urban areas in the oil rich state practised open defe-cation.
Ngambi, who spoke yesterday in Port Harcourt at a Media Networking workshop for journalists, urged the Rivers State Government to intensify its sensitisation pro-gramme on the health hazards associated with open defecation.
The programme was held in collaboration with the Rivers State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASA). Ngambi said the workshop was geared towards forging a working partnership and synergy with the media to bring the activities of the agency and the government to the front burner of public discourse.
He expressed UNICEF’s readiness and willingness to collaborate with the state and local governments in providing toilet facilities in the rural and urban communities.
The UNICEF boss said: “The frequent outbreak of cholera in the state is a wake up call to the state, local governments and multilateral donor agencies to gird their loins and confront the health challenges.”
He explained that one gram of excreta defecated in the open can generate 10 million viruses, one million bacteria, 1,000 parasite cysts and 100 parasites eggs.
Ngambi stressed UNICEF’s determination to work with the state and local governments to reorientate the people, improve the level of personal hygiene and provide sanitary facilities for the people.
Rosemary Nwisi, Port Harcourt
The Nation News