$1.1 Billion needed to save 22 Million Nigerians from Meningitis

(Last Updated On: April 4, 2017)




The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), has disclosed that a whopping sum of $1.1 billion was currently required for the vaccination of 22 million persons in the five states affected by the outbreak of the Type C cerebrospinal meningitis disease.

The acting director-general of the agency Dr. Emmanuel Odu, disclosed the need for the vaccine to the Senate on Monday.

It was estimated that about 328 Nigerians are said to have died after contacting the disease.

Apart from the five affected states namely Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina and Niger where the situation is said to be acute, 16 other states have recorded at least one case each of the disease.

Similarly, National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) has assured the Senate that the vaccination for the Type C strain of the cerebrospinal meningitis disease will commence on Tuesday.

The chief executive officer (CEO)/national coordinator of NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, gave the

assurance to the Senate on Monday following the procurement of the vaccines from the World Health Organisation (WHO)

Ihekweazu said the vaccine was only procured two weeks ago as the criteria for application are that the country must be experiencing an outbreak.

Briefing the Senate Committee on Primary Healthcare and communicable Diseases on efforts being

made to contain the outbreak, NPHCDA DG, Odu, also said each vaccine cost between $30 and $50; adding that the vaccine is expensive and scarce.

Dr. Ihekweazu also briefed the committee on efforts being made to contain the epidemic, saying that the Type C strain of the disease was new to West Africa, hence the seeming unpreparedness to tackle it.

But the senate committee noted that the widespread outbreak would have been averted if relevant agencies had commenced campaigns to raise awareness on preventive measures when it first started in December 2016.

Ihekweazu told the lawmakers that the centre, working in collaboration with the state governments,

Ministry of Health, and the National Primary Healthcare Commission, has adopted a three pronged line of action for prevention, early detection and pushing hard to ensure the vaccines are available.

“This disease is associated with overcrowding, particularly in this weather. We cannot tell people not to overcrowd their homes but would continue to advise them to make sure their homes are well ventilated and to observe good personal hygiene”, he said.

Ihekweazu added that, while available treatments work when the disease is detected early, most victims arrive the hospital late for various reasons.