Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Panic In Nigeria As Meningitis Spreads

Children undergoing vaccination against meningitis in Nigeria
Apprehension has gripped Nigerians in the wake of the current outbreak of Cerebrospinal Meningitis, CSM, in some parts of the country. Reports show that the outbreak, which has reached epidemic proportions in the last few days, has continued to spread.

According to the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC , as of April 3, 2017, a total of 2,997 suspected cases of CSM have been reported in 16 states and 92 local government areas, of which 146 have been laboratory-confirmed, while 336 deaths have been recorded.

Data from the NCDC Epi summary made available to Vanguard, showed that Zamfara State is topping the list with 1,846 suspected cases (67 laboratory confirmed) and 216 deaths, followed by Sokoto with 662 suspected cases and 41 deaths. In Kastina, there are 211 cases, 46 deaths, while Niger has 93 cases with 33 deaths.

Kebbi has recorded a total of 69 cases (12 laboratory confirmed) and 11 deaths;  Abuja, five cases and five deaths; Kano 36 cases (four confirmed) and three deaths, while Yobe recorded 51 cases and nine deaths.

In Lagos, there were three suspected cases, none of which were laboratory confirmed and two deaths. All the 57 local government areas, and Local Council Development Areas, LCDAs, are on high alert.

Cases were recorded in Osun, Cross River, Plateau, Taraba, Gombe, Nasarawa and FCT, but none was laboratory confirmed, even though deaths were recorded.

Senate urges action on IDP camps, prisons, others

Meanwhile, the Senate, yesterday, asked the Federal Government to urgently provide facilities in Prisons, Police stations, detention camps, Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, camps, if it must guard against the outbreak of cerebro-spinal meningitis as well as control its spread.

The Senate identified these locations as susceptible to the current outbreak of the disease due to overcrowding and unhygienic nature of these places.

The Senate also called on the Federal Government to provide vaccines in all government hospitals to treat victims of the disease, just as it urged the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, Nigerian Prison Service, and the Police, to urgently take steps to prevent infections and outbreaks in their premises and the camps.

The lawmakers also directed the Federal Ministry of Health and its agencies to work closely with the World Health Organisation, WHO, and UNICEF to acquire sufficient vaccines needed to respond to the outbreak, which had so far claimed 328 lives, with over 2500 cases.

Resolutions of the Senate were sequel to a motion by Senator Gbenga Ashafa (APC, Lagos East) and supported by Senators Wakili Mallam Ali (Bauchi South); Olamilekan Solomon (Lagos West); Mao Ohuabunwa (Abia North) and Olarenwaju Tejuoso (Ogun Central).

In a statement released by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, and signed by its Technical Assistant Communications, Dr. Lawal Bakare, the government that the NCDC, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency and partners had activated an Emergency Operations Centre, EOC, to manage the ongoing the disease.


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