Meningitis: FCT residents accuse health officials of selling vaccines for N500

by Dolapo Adelana

Some residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja have alleged that vaccinators were charging them N500 per person before they were given the Cerebro Spinal Meningitis (CSM) vaccine.

The residents of Kubwa, a satellite town in Abuja on Wednesday wondered the rationale behind the fee when the Federal Government had announced that the immunisation was free.

The vaccination was being conducted by a woman suspected to be working for an NGO at the Government Secondary School, Kubwa, in Bwari Area Council of the FCT.

A resident, Mr Tony Isibon, who was at the venue said he had no choice than to pay the fee because he was scared of the meningitis outbreak.

“The vaccination here is N500 per person. I do not know if it is from the government or a private organisation, but they collect N500 per person. We just met people paying N500 and we joined.

“Since this is the only centre in Kubwa, and the threat of meningitis is real, people are paying the N500.

“There is only one official here; she is the person giving the injection and also the person collecting the money.’’

“Sure they receive N500 from each child and adult; each pay N500 to get the vaccine,’’ Mrs Margaret Gonga, a housewife, also said.

Another resident, who simply identified herself as Mrs Benson, said, “I brought six children and I had to pay N3,000; we do not mind paying the money as long as we get vaccinated, that is what is important to us.

“The meningitis and the heat is so much that we do not have any option other than to pay and be vaccinated,’’ she said.

Another resident, Mr Humphrey Anaeme said, “They say that this is an NGO. If it is true; let them put their banner so that people will know they are registered to carry out this exercise.’’

Anaeme asked, “The question that everyone is asking is: ‘what is the name of the organisation? Where is their banner? How can we know they are legitimate when they are charging N500 and government says it is free?’’

He expressed fear that there was the possibility the vaccinators could take advantage of the situation and administer fake drugs that could endanger people’s lives.

The woman administering the vaccine, who declined to give her name, said that she was working for the Maladitrace Foundation, an NGO.

“Actually this is Maladitrace Foundation, it is an NGO. Since there is an outbreak in the FCT, our NGO saw the need to curtail the outbreak by making these vaccines available at a cheaper rate to these people.

“The one the government actually brought has finished; they started two weeks ago and they have ended the exercise,’’ she said.

Reacting to the development, Dr Rilwanu Mohammed, the Executive Secretary of the FCT Primary Health Care Board, said the agency had no knowledge that individuals or organisations were collecting money for CSM vaccination in the territory.


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