Then Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, has assured Nigerians that the Federal Ministry of Health would check the scourge of meningitis ravaging some states.
The ministry confirmed that so far, 328 have died of suspected meningitis. Worst hit states at Zamfara and Katsina.
In a press statement signed by Boade Akinola, director, media and public relations, Federal Ministry of Health, the minister said extensive efforts had been deployed to curtail the further spread of the epidemic.
Mr. Adewole said the ministry had was working with all affected states on sensitization, laboratory investigation and analysis, proper documentation and disease surveillance techniques through the National Centre for Disease Control and National Primary Health Care Development Authority.
The ministry is also in constant discussion with World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, E-health Africa and other international health agencies for supplies of vaccines and injections, the ministry said.
“Through our initiatives, we have secured 500,000 doses of the meningococcal vaccines from WHO which will be used in Zamfara and Katsina states with an additional 800,000 units from the British government,” the statement said.
“By next Tuesday, there will be a meeting with the International Review Group of The World Health Organization (WHO) where request for additional vaccines shall be approved, as part of practical and medically certified efforts to stem this ugly incidence.”
The statement said Nigeria had been assured of millions of vaccine doses.
“Unfortunately, Nigeria had always been bedeviled with the stereotype A in years past, but this new strain of the bacterial disease, Meningitis Stereotype C, which the vaccine is not commercially available in required quantities, can only be shipped to the country by WHO only if laboratory investigation confirms the existence of the strain type C,” it said.
The Minister said efforts were ongoing widen nationwide immunisation.
“We are equally advocating for prompt diagnosis and have issued directive to all Federal medical facilities and PHCs to treat all cases of meningitis free of charge. All Nigerians especially residents of Katsina, Kano, Kebbi, Sokoto, Niger, Zamfara and Jigawa states are advised to seek early attention when discomforted with symptoms of Cerebro Spinal Meningitis (CSM) and avoid clogging together in unventilated and over-crowded rooms,” he added.