Raymond Ozoji, Awka
Hon. Okechukwu Okoye, Chairman Anambra House of Assembly Committee on Information and Public Enlightenment, has raised an alarm over the outbreak of gastroentritis in Anambra state.
Okoye described the disease as excessive stooling and vomiting common among children between the ages of zero and five years and very contagious.
The lawmaker who disclosed this during an exclusive interview with our correspondent in Awka, said the didease was in the air and that people should maintain simple personal hygiene practices to curtail the spread.
Okoye said, “Today we are experiencing one of the most leading causes of deaths in the life of children between the ages of zero and five years and it is also common among aged people.
“It is quite common during dry season and it affects children. Children get dehydrated as a result of constant vomiting and constant stooling. Because of this, there is need to revive the lives of these children.”
He further explained that apart from causing dehydration and loss of electrolytes amongst children, the condition also leads to fever and loss of appetite because the bacteria has affected the immune system of the body thereby making it vulnerable to more bacterial infections.
Okoye observed that the disease was rampant in the state as evident in cases at various hospitals across the state.
Although he pointed out that contact with infected food, vomitus, baby dippers of infected children, could escalate the spread of gastroentritis easily, he said simple personal hygiene culture could help eradicate its spread.
According to him, children between zero and five years were mostly susceptible to vomiting and stooling because their immune system is not strong enough to withstand such attacks just as he observed also that aged people were equally vulnerable to gastroentritis because their immune systems have started to deteriorate.
The lawmaker who stated that he has witnessed deaths resulting from gastrointestinal diseases, emphasized that the disease was terminal and that a number of deaths had been recorded in the state to the best of his knowledge.
Although he called on the state commissioner for health to respond to the situation, he also emphasized that people must realise the effects of living in a dirty and unclean environment.
Also, he recommended an aggressive public enlightenment campaign on the prevention of contagious diseases and how proper handwashing would help curtail the spread of gastroentritis and other killer diseases.