by Dolapo Adelana
Following the outbreak of Cerebrospinal Meningitis in five States, the Federal Government has summoned an emergency meeting between stakeholders in the health sector and the World Health Organisation to secure the approval of additional vaccines and the curb the menace.
The FG also raised the alarm that the new strain of the bacterial disease, Meningitis Stereotype C which vaccine is not commercially available could be shipped to the country by WHO only if laboratory investigation confirms the existence of the strain type C.
In a statement issued on Saturday for the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole by the Director of Press and Public Relations in the Health Ministry, Boade Akinola, the minister said the government has also secured 1.3 million doses of meningococcal vaccines from WHO which will be used in Zamfara and Katsina states and additional 800,000 units from the British government.
He said, “By next Tuesday, there will be a meeting with the International Review Group of WHO, where request for additional vaccines shall be approved, as part of practical and medically certified efforts to stem this ugly incidence.
“Through our initiatives, we have secured 500,000 doses of the meningococcal vaccines from WHO which will be used in Zamfara and Katsina States and additional 800,000 units from the British government.”
Adewole expressed optimism in the ability of the Federal government to curtail the trend adding that “328 deaths associated with Meningitis have been recorded since November 2016.”
The Minister said, “We have started working with all the affected states in specific areas of collaboration on massive awareness and sensitization, laboratory investigation and analysis, proper documentation and disease surveillance techniques through the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control and National Primary Health Care Development Authority who have been of tremendous support since the outbreak.
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“We are in constant discussion with WHO, UNICEF, E-health Africa and other international health agencies for supplies of vaccines and injections. Even with the tunnels of accomplishment made, we are not relenting on all the progress made, as we have been assured of millions of vaccine doses through other notable and international donor agencies.
“Unfortunately, Nigeria had always been bedevilled 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 and can only be shipped to the country by WHO only if laboratory investigation confirms the existence of the strain type C.
Dolapo is a writer and journalist who works with YNaija. He has interests in Christianity, politics and sports.