What North-East states are doing to combat meningitis – Officials

States in North East Nigeria have adopted proactive measures against the outbreak and control of Cerebro Spinal Meningitis, CSM.

A survey conducted by the News Agency of Nigeria in the region indicated that the states have made adequate logistic arrangements and set up rapid response teams to combat the disease.

The report also said that while some states have acquired the CSM vaccines, others made contingency arrangements with the Federal Government to fight the scourge.

In Bauchi, the Executive Chairman of the state Primary Health Care Development Agency (PHCDA), Adamu Gamawa, told NAN that unused vaccines procured in 2016 were mopped up by the federal government and allocated to states most severely affected by the disease.

Mr. Gamawa said the remaining few doses left were used in vaccinating people considered to be at high risk of contracting the disease.

He refuted reports that the vaccines were being sold by operators of private health facilities in the state.

“We normally allocate these vaccines to private operators for easy access by the people and they account for them.

“Since we do not have single dose at our disposal now, there is no way they could have acquired the vaccines and sold to people.

“We have not received any complaint from the public that the vaccines were being sold to them,” he said.

However, the chairman said that efforts were being made by the agency to procure the vaccine.

He called on the people to report suspected cases of CSM to the nearest health facilities for prompt action.

From Adamawa, the State Government has confirmed receiving enough CSM vaccine from the federal government through the support of the World Health Organisation.

Bapetel Pariya, Director Public Health, State Ministry of Health, who disclosed this to NAN in Yola, said that the vaccines were provided last month when the state recorded an outbreak of CSM.

“We received enough vaccines from the federal government, with the collaboration of the World Health Organisation and UNICEF,” Pariya said.

According to him, government has provided enough doses of CSM type `C’ to all the 21 health facilities in the state.

“So far, we have not received any complaint about non-availability of the vaccines and we are ready to deal with any case of sabotage,” he assured.

On its part, the Gombe State Government said it had concluded arrangements to procure the vaccine.

Kennedy Ishaya, the state Commissioner for Health, told NAN that pending the procurement of the vaccines, government had already purchased drugs worth N4 million and distributed to government and private hospitals across the state.

He said that so far, there were no reported cases of meningitis in state.

In Borno, health workers in the state commended the state government for providing enough vaccines in public hospitals towards preventing an outbreak of the disease.

A cross section of the workers told NAN in Maiduguri that the present administration took proactive steps to avert an epidemic in the state.

Zara Balami, a Nursing Superintendent at the Maryam Abacha Children Hospital in Ruwan Zafi, said that the provision of adequate vaccines by the government had helped curtail the outbreak of the disease.

“Some years back, we used to record large number of cases of meningitis in this hospital, but I am happy to say that we have not recorded any case yet.

“In spite of this we have a stockpile of vaccines in the hospital in case of emergencies,” Mrs. Balami said.

Mary Misheliza, a health worker at the Specialist Hospital Maiduguri, also confirmed that the state has a stockpile of vaccines.

“I think government has done so well in the area of preventing meningitis outbreak this year.

“Most importantly the idea of massive vaccination has actually helped in preventing an outbreak of the disease,” Ms. Mishelia said.

The state Commissioner for Health, Haruna Mshelia, said that government had set aside 200,000 doses of vaccine for meningitis as a proactive measure against any outbreak.

Mr. Mshelia said that the state had earlier carried out a vaccination capable of protecting the vaccinated for a decade.

“Between 2012 and 2014 the whole state was covered with a special type of meningitis vaccine that lasts for 10 years.

“However, we have over 200,000 doses in our stores for outbreak response, should there be any case,” he said.

(NAN)

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