Ogun State government has threatened to shut houses without toilet facilities and get the landlords arrested to face the full weight of the law.
The decision of the state government came in the wake of cholera outbreak which hit Abule-Otun, Lafenwa, Kuto and Idi-Aba areas of Abeokuta, the State capital and reportedly claimed five lives.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr Adesanya Ayinde said that the State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun’s directive to that effect would become operational this week. He said that the governor is of the opinion that open defecation in the 21st century is unacceptable given the danger it is capable of unleashing on human lives, such as cholera and other infections.
Dr Ayinde said that government will soon send workers out to inspect round the length and breadth of the state and that anyone found flouting the order will face the wrath of the law.
“Government will soon send its workers to inspect houses across the state. Any house owner who fails to provide toilet in his house will be made to face the consequences.”
The Permanent Secretary highlighted the efforts made by the present administration in the State to contain the epidemic, saying that government had swung into action on confirming an index case by commencing a thorough investigation in the suspected areas and visiting the health facilities in the communities for search in case of any active complaints.
Dr. Ayinde said that out of the five deaths reported in the news, only one was taken to a government health facility, pointing out that contact tracing helped the officials to get information on the other four victims.
“Away from insinuations from some quarters, not only cholera causes vomiting and diarrhoea but the index case was confirmed by a laboratory test.
“Our action is to see that we disseminate correct information to different places. We have our Information Communication Education (IEC) materials across the state, including the rural areas.”
Dr Ayinde said that the State Hospital, Ijaiye, Abeokuta, has been identified as referral centre for treatment and that cholera alert has been sent to all health facilities in the state in case of any suspected patient.
He said that the administration has decided to fumigate the affected areas through the Ministries of Health and Agriculture respectively to get rid of any form of infectious diseases.
The Permanent Secretary said that health workers are on the field for continuous surveillance, adding that efforts have been set in motion to sensitise the public on safe drinking, hand washing as well as personal and environmental hygiene.