Five UNICEF approved tips to prevent cholera outbreak in schools

As Nigeria battles a cholera outbreak in 30 states, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NDDC) has said it might declare an emergency in the country.

Daily Sun reports that from January 1 to June 11, 2024, there have been over 1,141 suspected and over 65 confirmed cases of cholera, resulting in over 30 deaths reported from 96 Local Government Areas in 30 states. This is according to the NDDC.

The Lagos State Ministry of Health also said it has recorded 350 suspected cases of cholera in 29 wards across multiple LGAs with 17 confirmed cases and 15 fatalities attributed to severe dehydration caused by delayed presentation.

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), children are the most susceptible to the disease and these are some very important tips it has provided on how to prevent cholera outbreak in schools:

Drink safe water

All students and school staff should drink safe water from a source that is chlorinated at appropriate level of Free Residual Chlorine (FRC).

Promote handwashing

Schools should promote supervised handwashing with soap at key moments of the day: entrance; after playing; after using the toilet; before eating; before leaving.

A primary school pupil washing her hands.
Photo credit: UNICEF

Food hygiene

All students should eat cooked food. Raw food should be disinfected: wash fruit and raw vegetables thoroughly with clean water, then disinfect for 30 minutes in a basin with 3 litres of water and one teaspoon of normal bleach (normal bleach, not perfumed).

Train teachers, cleaners

There should be refresher training for teachers, IPC/WASH focal points, and cleaners assigned to apply cholera IPC protocols

Refill consumables

Refill consumables (detergent; bulk chlorine for disinfection; chlorine for drinking water; water supply etc. before they run out of stock.

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