LAGOS, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- An official with the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Water Resources has called for strengthened coordination from all partners to prevent cholera deaths as 3,598 deaths were recorded in 2021 in the country.
Speaking late Tuesday at a stakeholder meeting in Abuja, Nigeria's capital, Emmanuel Awe, director in charge of water quality control in the ministry, said the country reported 107,911 cholera cases as of December 2021, with 3,598 deaths, sharply rising from 1,858 cases and 95 deaths reported in 2020.
"These figures are not acceptable...Waterborne diseases are actually preventable, and all we need to do is to ensure that our people have access to clean and safe potable water at all times," Awe said.
According to the director, cases were reported from 341 local government areas in 29 states and the capital of Abuja, including the conflicted states in the northeast and crisis-affected northwest region.
"These reports of the resurgence of cholera are a worrisome public health crisis," he stressed, noting that the data received from the Cholera Situation Report for 2021 revealed that the age group of five to 14 years was the most affected.
Speaking at the same meeting, Jane Bevan, a United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) officer based in Nigeria, said it was shocking that cholera cases were higher than COVID-19 in 2021, calling for renewed coordination from all key stakeholders.
Cholera is a highly virulent disease, characterized in its most severe form by the sudden onset of acute watery diarrhea that can lead to death by severe dehydration.
The outbreak is frequently reported in Nigeria due to the lack of potable water supply, especially in densely populated areas.