Cholera not Omicron should be the major concern for Public Health in Nigeria!


Statement of the Revolutionary Socialist Vanguard (RSV), Nigerian Section of the RCIT. 6th December, 2021.




“The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has said Cholera has claimed more lives in Nigeria than the dreaded coronavirus pandemic, especially in 2021. The centre’s director general, Ifedayo Adetifa, said the country has recorded “a little more than 3,600” deaths from cholera in the last 11 months while the total fatalities recorded from coronavirus since 2020 when the index case was recorded still stands at 2,977.


Mr Adetifa, who was a guest on Channels Television morning programme- “Sunrise Daily,” to give an update on the Omicron COVID-19 variant found in Nigeria, noted that the NCDC “has been working behind the scene to mitigate the spread of cholera, as the public attention is more on COVID-19 than other diseases”.¹


The report continues: “As of November 21, 2021, the NCDC disclosed that Nigeria has recorded a total of 3,566 deaths and 103,589 suspected cholera cases across 32 states of the federation and the FCT – a 3.4 per cent Case Fatality Ratio. According to the centre, four states- Bauchi (19,470 cases), Jigawa (13,293 cases) Kano (12,116 cases), and Zamfara (11.918 cases) account for 55 per cent of all cumulative cases.”


Earlier reports have pointed to the misplaced attention in the public health discourse:


“Nigeria is seeing one of its worst cholera outbreaks in years, with more than 2,300 people dying from suspected cases as Africa’s most populous country struggles to deal with multiple disease outbreaks. This year’s cholera outbreak, with a higher case fatality rate than the previous four years, is worsened by what many consider to be a bigger priority for state governments: the COVID-19 pandemic. Nigeria faces a resurgence of cases driven by the Delta variant, and less than 1% of the population has been fully vaccinated.


At least 69,925 suspected cholera cases were recorded as of Sept. 5 in 25 of Nigeria’s 36 states and in the capital, Abuja, according to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control. Children between 5 and 14 are the most affected age group and the overall case fatality rate is 3.3%, more than double that of COVID-19′s 1.3% case fatality rate in Nigeria.”²


This was the exact same situation we pointed last year where Lassa fever was claiming lives at an alarming rate in the midst of the lockdowns:


“the Nigerian bourgeoisie has not responded to other more lethal outbreaks as it now does. A telling indication of this is how the Nigerian government have loosely handled the outbreak of Lassa fever. The disease (…) infects about 100,000 to 300,000 people around the world annually with 5000 deaths per year. Some figures put the rate of infection at 300,000 to 500,000 annually. According to figures from the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) cases of Lassa fever have been confirmed in 27 out of 36 states including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja:


Between January 1 and March 15, the Nigerian Center for Disease Control reported 161 deaths of Lassa fever patients, with 3,735 suspected cases and 906 confirmed cases, across twenty-seven of Nigeria’s thirty-six states. For the same period in 2019, Lassa killed 114 with 1801 suspected cases and 455 confirmed cases across twenty-one states, but the 906 confirmed cases for 2020 is already greater than the 810 confirmed cases for all of 2019. Lassa fever is known to have a case fatality rate as high as 23 percent,…”³


Here it can be seen that while Cholera is not just claiming the lives of poor people in the thousands the most affected are children of ages between 5 and 14. Despite the case fertility rates of these outbreaks being far greater than that of COVID and the vulnerability of the population mostly affected there is zero attention or media frenzy concerning the danger of these diseases. Rather mainstream media and liberal activists are pining over the vaccine for a disease that has only killed a handful of old government officials, their bodyguards and aides. Of course no serious minded person believes the leavened figures paraded by the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) as Corona virus deaths.


The vaccines have not been known to solve any real problems caused by the virus. The countries with one of the highest vaccination rates have considered and even imposed lockdowns while they were ahead of all other countries in terms of the fraction of the population vaccinated. The European countries with high rates of vaccination still remain those who have the highest additional cases of COVID after the vaccine roll out began. Fully vaccinated people have been known to contract the virus, spread it and even die from the disease. This is because the ruling class all over the world has never borne any public health interests. The mass vaccination campaigns have only being in line with the profit interests of Big Pharma. Same as the as the lockdowns and the “Green Pass” worked to add gargantuan riches to the online streaming and IT companies.


Leaving the whole health infrastructure in the hands of the governments has only led to a cycle of deceit and lies with more only more suffering for the working class and the oppressed. The hastily produced vaccines have led to nothing more than increased mutations. It seems as though with every new mutation there’s a new vaccine/booster. To the point that a single person maybe required to take up to 5(!) vaccine/booster. If anything the vaccination drives have only served as a tool for the Bonapartist expansion of the state apparatus and the introduction of a new system of apartheid where vaccinated people are separated from unvaccinated through Green Pass and vaccination certificates.


The Nigerian government has not still been able to come to terms with the doctors of the National Association of Resident Doctors who have embarked on incessant strikes since March 2020. So how can anyone trust them to successfully deal with any epidemic much less leave the running of the whole Health sector in their hands especially in a time of economic and health crises by accepting mass curfews and lockdowns with travel bans. Effectively disarming the masses of the only means they have to bring change–popular uprisings.


We are not against vaccines/vaccination but we maintain that effective vaccines can only be produced through the solidarity of international health workers who are truly driven by health interests of the masses and who are under the supervision of the popular masses. We also maintain that the mass vaccination campaigns is part of the effort of the world governments to justify their strategy of apartheid launched to attack the people in the midst of a crises of the capitalist system. Why are the vaccine for AIDS, Lassa fever etc., taking so long to develop? Why are they not being mass produced yet? Because they are diseases that hardly infect Western nations and Europeans right?


While we strongly condemn the travel bans now being imposed by the US, UK, EU and Israel on African nations we warn against the centering of this chauvinist attacks on petty bourgeois demands such as allowing middle class and rich people to visit Western countries of their choice. Instead of putting the expansion, upgrade and increased funding of the health sector; the opposition to Lockdowns and school closures which will truly disrupt the livelihoods and lives of the poor as the main campaign. The universities and learning institutions are yet to recover from the lag caused by the last lockdowns. Moreso the retrogression suffered by the learning process of children and youth.


In the final analysis, the way to fight a pandemic or end an health crises is not mass curfews; Lockdowns; ban on public gatherings/social distancing or travel bans. All these emergency measures are plots by the ruling class to launch a peremptory strike against the masses when their economic system is facing a tempest. This tempest is caused by nothing more than the inner contradictions of this system of exploitation so that it can no longer recover from a catastrophic decline. Imagine the Buhari government blaming the pandemic for its failure to fight corruption.⁴


Rather to fight a pandemic or end a health crises the health sector must be massively funded and upgraded. More health staff must be recruited with a monumental pay increase for these practitioners. Vaccines and cures must be investigated by medical practitioners under the supervision of the workers’ movement. No to any form of school closure or restriction of freedom of movement or assembly of the masses.


Most of all the general living conditions of the people must be improved. It is telling that to defeat epidemics like Lassa fever and Cholera new hygienic housing must be provided for people living in the slums. The housing estates of the super-rich must be expropriated for the poor to occupy. Portable drinking water and hygienic water for other domestic uses must be provided the poor. The same goes for COVID, without fighting climate change and environmental pollution which created the enabling environment for pathogens to emerge and mutate endlessly then Corona and other pathogens cannot be eradicated.


This is why it is completely unacceptable to yield the streets in any form of sit-at-home. To end pandemics we must end capitalism and this is impossible by putting the whole population in isolation!