MEDICINS Sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders), the international health group, said it had reopened the cholera treatment centre (CTC) in the Borno State Hospital following an outbreak in the region. According to MSF, already operating in this remote state that was difficult to get to and where the provision of healthcare is extremely limited, MSF was now responding to this latest epidemic.

There have been 4 500 cases and 70 deaths from cholera in barely a month in Borno State’s capital and principal town, Maiduguri, and the number of cases continues to rise. MSF has decided to re-open the CTC and increase the number of beds to 150. A total of eight MSF staff members working in cooperation with Ministry of Health personnel are providing care for the most serious cases and 1,912 people have already received treatment.

MSF has also set up in several of the town’s districts five preventive oral rehydration points. Easy to install, these give people access to oral rehydration solutions. Action Contre la Faim (ACF) is looking into assisting with water, hygiene and sanitation activities. MSF provided assistance during a previous cholera outbreak in Maiduguri in 2010 and set up a 120-bed cholera treatment centre (CTC) in the town’s hospital.

According to the organization, cholera epidemics are frequent in Nigeria and in January this year an outbreak occurred in Bauchi State, also in the northeast of the country. MSF teams provided treatment in a CTC to 8 500 of the 15 500 people who contracted the disease. An acute infection of the intestine, cholera is highly contagious and is transmitted by ingesting food and water contaminated by the bacterium or human waste. The disease kills 100 000 to 120 000 people every year.

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