The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, has called on the Governor of Zamfara state, Abdulaziz Yari, to build primary health care facilities in the state in order to help the people of the state handle common health cases affecting them.
Mr. Yari came under fire from across the Nigerian polity recently for ascribing the outbreak of meningitis in Nigeria to God’s punishment for the sins of Nigerians.
Zamfara is the state most affected by the outbreak of the disease with more than half of the over 400 deaths recorded nationwide.
According to a press statement on Tuesday, Mr. Adewole said that the governor’s focus should be on strengthening the PHC system in the state.
This, he said, is the only way to prevent outbreaks and most of the common health challenges affecting the people.
Mr. Adewole said that if primary health care centres had been in place in the state, a single reported case at a centre would have activated a response that would have averted the scale of meningitis outbreak in the state.
“Once the PHC system is in place, we can tackle not just this outbreak but 70-80 per cent of the cases of our people,” he said.
The minister however urged the governments in Nigeria to prepare effectively for next year’s dry season, in order to be able to tackle the next outbreak.
While calling for the enlightenment of the public on the infection, the minister said “We need to educate our people that this infection is so easy to treat and diagnose.
“We must put a lot of effort into active case finding. We are recommending a house to house search,” the minister added.
Mr. Adewole also called on the governor to clampdown on those reportedly selling the meningitis vaccines in the state, stating that they must be dealt with decisively.
At present, Zamfara State is the most affected by the outbreak of the Cerebro Spinal Meningitis.
The Federal Government has however kicked off a mass vaccination exercise in the state with residents turning out in large numbers to receive the vaccine.
In his response to the minister’s counsel, Mr. Yari admitted that the state was taken by surprise but assured that the outbreak was being controlled by the federal government team.
He however vowed to provide leadership by doing all he can to ensure the protection of the lives and property of his people and pledged to get on board with the PHC agenda of Mr. Adewole.
He also disclosed that reported cases in the state had reduced in the past 72 hours as the state has received fewer cases and positive response.
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