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DID YOU KNOW? Cholera has killed twice as many Nigerians as COVID in 2021

DID YOU KNOW? Cholera has killed twice as many Nigerians as COVID in 2021
December 02
16:06 2021

Fatalities from the cholera outbreak in 2021 doubled the number of COVID-19 related deaths in the same period.

Shocked? Don’t be. The data checks out.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), cholera is an acute diarrhoeal disease that can kill within hours if left untreated. It is estimated that there are about four million cases of cholera every year — and up to 143,000 deaths worldwide.

Since March 2021, cholera cases have increased substantially in Nigeria, with cases recorded in 32 states, including the federal capital territory (FCT).


Speaking recently on Channels Television, Ifedayo Adetifa, director-general of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), confirmed that cholera has taken more lives than COVID-19 in 2021.

“Sadly, cholera has actually killed more people than COVID-19 so far. We have had a little over 3600 deaths from cholera from the beginning of the year to date,” he said.



Data from the NCDC showed that 1,289 people died of COVID-19 between February 2020, when the country recorded its index case, and December 2020.

As of December 1, 2021, the number had climbed to 2,978, representing an increase of 1,689 or 131 percent.

On the other hand, the latest cholera outbreak had killed 3,566 Nigerians as of November 21, 2021, according to NCDC’s epidemiology report.

Further analysis shows that casualties from cholera in 2021 alone surpassed recorded COVID-19 related deaths in almost two years.

COVID-19  2,978
CHOLERA  3,566

Source: NCDC


Adetifa said the NCDC is “working behind the scene to mitigate the spread of cholera, as the public attention is more on COVID-19 than other diseases”.

“Nobody actually knows that we have teams out in five, six states now that have good cholera response. We’ve had rapid response teams in all of the states that have had cholera outbreaks,” he said.


The DG said the NCDC has the resources and necessary support from its partners to respond to cholera outbreaks.

“The problem with cholera is mostly the absence of what would have been long term and sustained investment in water sanitation and hygiene,” he said.


“Cholera has broken out in different states at different times. Some have had a really short outbreak, and some have had a protracted outbreak. Some of that is also related to the season. We are dealing with some extended outbreaks and some fresh outbreaks. There is some connection between this and the rainy season.

“So when you’ve got the rains and areas with open defecation and normal water sources are then flooded by rainwater, and mix, then you have a problem. When the rain stops, and that mixing stops, then you have a diminution in cases over time.


“What we have said and will continue to say to the authorities is that, if we want to see a different picture next year, the investments in water sanitation and hygiene should start now. If you set up potable water now, then you can be sure that the areas where we’ve had large outbreaks will not have cholera next year.”


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