Seventeen persons have been confirmed dead in some communities in Anambra State, following the outbreak of a disease suspected to be diarrhoea (Nine in Igbedor, three in Nzam, three in Umuenwelum, while two died in Ode community). The affected areas are in the Anambra West Local Government Area of the state, includes Igbedor, Nzam, Umuenwenum Anam and Ode.
A community leader in one of the communities, Cyprian Akpofe, said the community usually experiences cholera around this time of the year. He said he believes the victims died of cholera and not diarrhea.
His words: “It is pure cholera. All those that died exhibited all the symptoms of cholera before they died. It’s pure cholera. It happens here annually.”
However, the state’s Commissioner for Health, Joe Akabuike, disagreed with the cholera suggestion. Mr. Akabuike, who led some officials of the ministry to the council area, said the deaths recorded in the area were not due to cholera as being speculated, but diarrhea. He blamed the disease outbreak on the recent flood disaster that submerged many buildings and farmlands in the area.
The commissioner also blamed the residents for seeking a solution through traditional means, including going to herbalists rather than accessing health facilities as appropriate. The Health Commissioner said Governor Willie Obiano had approved money to ensure the situation was arrested to prevent further deaths.