FCT Communities Still Drink From Streams As Cholera Ravages Over 500
There is no certainty that the people of Wassa community in the Federal Capital Territory, are not drinking their own faeces as the only source of water supply is a dirty, narrow stream which has become more like a sewage.
Since the houses have no toilets and there are no public toilets, residents defecate around their houses, and when it rains the faeces are washed away, including into the stream.
According to Dr Tenimu Osu, who is the only medical personnel in the only clinic in the community— a two-bed structure—cholera had killed two persons in the community while many had been hospitalized.
Since May 2021 when cholera broke in the FCT, over 500 cases have been reported, predominantly in Wassa, Dei Dei, Zuba, Shenagun and kubwa—all satellite communities where conditions are similar.
As of 8th of July, the FCT had recorded five hundred and fourteen suspected cases of cholera while the FCT Administration still struggles to respond.
Wassa is less than 20 minutes from the popular Apo Mechanic village in Abuja but residents live without basic amenities. The buildings have no toilet facility, no potable water and no electricity. The people live in a different world from the city centre.
Our correspondent, who visited the open-camp in Wassa on Wednesday, discovered that the buildings housing the displaced persons were dilapidated, with women cooking at the front of the houses.
THE WHISTLER noticed that the stream which serves as the source of drinking water also serves as a site for public laundry.
Leader of the Wassa IDP community, Usman Ibrahim, confirmed to THE WHISTLER that nine cases of cholera with two deaths were recorded in the camp in the month of June alone, adding that the residents were still in danger due to lack of potable water and decent accommodation.
About 5000 displaced persons from Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states live in the community without school, hospital and other public facilities.
The clinic at the entrance of the settlement has only two small rooms with two bed spaces and no toilet or source of decent water. The doctor is supported by two volunteers from the community when there’s a deluge of patients.
Ibrahim said, “Honestly, we are facing many challenges here, such as schooling of our children and access to drinking water.
“Last month, we had 9 cases of cholera infection, we brought them to this clinic and took some to the local pharmacy in the community, but unfortunately we lost 2 of them.
“We do not have electricity, it was the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, that gave us this clinic but we do not have drugs. We seek the government’s support, we are also Nigerians.”
Also, Dr. Osu corroborated Ibrahim. He said “The cholera outbreak started last month, and before we discovered it, two persons had already died, then others were admitted in this clinic and the pharmacy in the community.
“So we wrote to AMAC, and they brought us drugs, even yesterday another case came up and she is currently receiving treatment at the pharmacy.
“The problem here is that many people use water from the stream, there is a borehole in the community but the engine that we use for pumping has been bad for some time now. So the major source of water for now is the stream.
“We usually educate them on the use of alum, boiling the water before use, but most of them do not obey.
“The buildings here do not have toilets, so many of them excrete around their houses, even this clinic does not have toilets, no water channels too.”
However, the Acting Secretary, Health and Human Services Secretariat, Mohammed Kawu, said that efforts were ongoing to intensify surveillance in the affected communities.
He said, “We have prepositioned some RDT test kits, drugs and consumables in some of our health facilities that have reported cases and we are in the process of distributing these commodities to the remaining health facilities.”