Meningitis- Sokoto to vaccinate 2m as Niger records 33 deaths

The Sokoto state government says its plan to immunize two million people against Cerebro Spinal Meningitis (CSM) across the 23 local government areas of the state, has reached an advanced stage.

The Commissioner for Health, Dr Balarabe Kakale said that the exercise would cover mostly persons between the ages of one to 30 years.

“We have already received 20,000 doses of the type C strain of CSM from the Federal Government, out of the initial request of 800,000 doses we made. We are expecting more consignments of the vaccines and we will soon commence the statewide vaccination, ’’ he said.

Kakale said the meningitis epidemic had been brought under control across the state adding that a referral centre had been established by the state government at the Murtala General Hospital, Sokoto.

According to him, the centre is being manned jointly by medical personnel deployed by the state government and Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF).

From Niger state in Northcentral Nigeria, thirty three people are reported to have died from the Cerebrol Spinal Meningitis (CSM) out of 116 suspected cases recorded.

The Executive Director of the state Primary Health Care Development Agency (SPCDA), Dr Yahaya Na’uzo, said that nine persons died from the type C meningitis while the remaining 24 died of the type A and B since the outbreak of the disease.

He said that the disease is being contained in Magama, Agwara, Rijau, Kontagora Local government areas.

According to him, the suspected cases in Suleja and Paiko were persons on transit from Sokoto state.

He explained that after the first fatality, the state embarked on sensitisation and awareness campaign to educate the people on preventive measures.

“We now have fewer cases reported per day because communities have been sensitised to report to the nearest hospital as soon as they suspect any case of meningitis. People have been educated to quickly report to the nearest hospital once they experience symptoms such as fever, vomiting and stiffness of the neck. With this, more people have been coming and the situation has stabilised as no more high report of confirmed cases,” he said.

He said that vaccination would commence immediately the state receives the Type C meningitis vaccines from international communities.

He advised people to desist from self-medication and report to hospital when they notice any sign of CSM.

Nau’zo also advised people to always leave windows and doors open to ensure ventilation in their homes. To avoid the spread of the disease, he urged people to wash their hands always.

He said that health personnel have been deployed to rural areas to help contain the spread.

Rafat S.