IOM, Humanitarian Partners Respond to Cholera Outbreak in North-East Nigeria as Death Toll Rises

Capacity Building, Humanitarian Emergencies, Migration Health

Maiduguri – According to the latest Situation Report of Cholera Outbreak issued by the Borno State Ministry of Health, 1,533 suspected cholera cases and 31 associated deaths were reported in the north-east Nigerian state from 5 to 17 September.

The State Ministry of Health is coordinating the response to the outbreak in partnership with the Humanitarian Country Team.

As part of the cholera response IOM, the UN Migration Agency, is conducting targeted hygiene promotion and sanitation activities in camp andcamp-like settings. This is directly implemented by IOM camp committees and technical teams. In the Konduga, Maiduguri, Jere, Dikwa and Gwoza local government areas (LGAs), IOM teams sensitized 2,726 households (around 15,000 people) to improve hygiene practices through house to house visits, mass campaigns and focus group discussions. Construction of additional hygiene and sanitation facilities such as latrines and showers are ongoing in Konduga and Jere, which are high cholera-risk LGAs. 

"We realize that as youths we can bring positive change towards curbing cholera in Gubio by encouraging proper utilization of sanitation facilities that are in the camps,” said a young man during a sensitization session on cholera prevention in Gubio, Maiduguri.

In addition, IOM continues to implement standard Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) activities to facilitate equitable access to services among the affected population as well as timely mapping and referral of gaps in the provision of assistance, reaching more than 680,000 displaced individuals across 110 camp and camp-like settings in Borno State. IOM is co-leading the CCCM sector in north-east Nigeria.

“Detecting and responding rapidly to suspected cases of cholera is vital to controlling outbreaks, which can spread rapidly,” said Fouad Diab, IOM Nigeria Emergency Coordinator, following the release of the latest situation report. “We are working towards ensuring that basic hygiene practices, including use of clean and safe water and proper sanitation are promoted among internally displaced persons (IDPs) and host communities,” he added. 

The Government is also disseminating prevention messages to combat the water-borne disease through local radio stations in Hausa, Kanuri, Shuwa and Bura languages.

Before the outbreak was officially announced, IOM had been conducting sanitation, hygiene promotion and cholera preparedness activities in the north-east. Since the beginning of 2018, IOM has reached 64,700 individuals with targeted WASH services in Borno State. 

Additional resources are urgently needed to strengthen the response and mitigate the risk of the outbreak spreading to other areas. Partners are currently using existing resources from regular emergency operations. These are not enough for a full-scale response.

Borno State is at the heart of the ongoing conflict in north-east Nigeria, a region where, according to recent assessments, 1,926,748 people are displaced, up from 1.7 million at the start of 2018. Up to 79 per cent of IDPs in the region are women and children.

For more information, please contact Jorge Galindo at IOM Nigeria, Tel: +234 906 273 9168, Email:

  • IOM team conducts a hygiene promotion session for IDPs in Bama, Borno State. Photo: IOM