• Cases of acute watery diarrhea/cholera climb to 50, including eight fatalities across three Local Government Areas (LGAs), as the state struggles with shortages of testing kits and medicines.
• Amid nationwide concerns of a possible third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, testing services continue to be hindered in Yobe due to shortages of vital kits.
• Cases of gender-based violence against women and adolescent girls increasing due to worsening vulnerabilities and limited access to livelihood opportunities.
Acute watery diarrhea (AWD)/cholera cases climb to 50 across three LGAs amid shortages of testing kits
The Yobe State Ministry of Health (SMoH) during the week provided updates on the spread of AWD/cholera, indicating a total of 50 cases across Bursari, Jakusko and Damaturu LGAs, including eight fatalities. Some 20 of the cases had been reported in Gadine community of Bursari LGA in April. As of end of the week, five samples tested positive for cholera based on laboratory tests. There are growing concerns of further spread across 10 high-risk LGAs as more flooding incidents (which contaminate water sources) are expected as the rainy season approaches its peak. Despite the increasing risks, the SMoH reported shortages of rapid diagnostic test (RTD) kits and cholera treatment drugs as of 29 July, which could further aggravate the situation as patients are resorting to self-medication and local pharmacies. Partners are working with the state government on the declaration of an outbreak to enable rapid scale-up of response across the board. WASH and health partners continue to intensify support including chlorination and trucking of potable water, disinfection of water channels, risk awareness messaging, and deployment of rapid response teams (RRTs) in affected and vulnerable locations for active case search and isolation/treatment of suspected cases.
COVID-19 testing services disrupted for two months due shortages of vital kits
COVID-19 testing services have been stalled in Yobe State for two months due to shortages of reagents at the state molecular laboratory. Samples collected from suspected cases in Yobe State are sent to the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) national reference laboratory in Abuja, the country’s capital, and it is taking several weeks to receive results. Out of 1,900 samples sent to Abuja in the last two months, only about 900 results have been received, raising concerns of possible cases going unidentified and spreading across communities. This is coming at a time that the country is recording a surge of new cases, with health authorities confirming a possible third wave of the pandemic. Health partners are working with SMoH to find a solution to the challenge. Reagents are usually supplied by the NCDC to molecular laboratories across the country.