Death toll of meningitis rises as Delta records another case
• Govt to take delivery of WHO vaccines, releases official figures tomorrow
• NiMet warns against heat-related ailments
There are indications that the death toll from the outbreak of Cerebrospinal Meningitis (CSM) epidemic has risen above 500 and beyond 4,000 cases from a total of 3,959 cases with 438 deaths reported over the weekend.
Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, was quoted yesterday as saying that 490 people have already been killed and 4,637 suspected cases recorded.
Adewole said at an emergency meeting of northern traditional leaders and governors in Kaduna that one billion dollars (or N360 billion) was required to vaccinate 21 million people against the disease in Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi, Niger and Katsina states.
The Guardian had reported on Sunday that the country needed at least N396 billion ($1.1 billion) to reach 22 million Nigerians aged between one month and 29 years that require vaccination against CSM and to stem its spread.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) could not confirm the new figures but said the official estimates would be released from the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) on Friday April 14, 2017.
However, the Federal Government would take delivery of about 823,000 vaccines from the World Health Organisation (WHO) this weekend.
Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire after yesterday’s Federal Executive Council meeting said the vaccines are to assist in the government’s intervention against Type C Meningitis epidemic in parts of the country where hundreds of persons have been reported dead.
Speaking earlier, Adewole said: “Meningitis vaccination is very expensive and to effectively stop the disease; we need to vaccinate 21 million people in the five states which will cost about $1 billion. We need an Immunity Trust Fund (ITF) to cater for immunization. We need to put more money in health to build a robust health system that is resilient.
“Nigeria would need to put more money on vaccine. Nigerian vaccine has been subsidised by the Global Alliance on Vaccine Initiative (GAVI), but in 2015 we said we are the largest economy in Africa, which means we can stand on our own. So by 2025 Nigeria will need to fund its vaccines by itself.”
In a related development, a fresh case of the disease has been reported in Asaba, the Delta State capital, a day after the outbreak was first reported in Warri.
According to a source at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Asaba, the infant was brought to the hospital last week when he developed symptoms of the disease.
The hospital’s Public Relations Officer, Mr. Nnamdi Ogborgu, who confirmed the case added that only the medical director was competent to speak on the incident.
But, the Permanent Secretary in the state’s Ministry of Health, Dr. Minnie Oseji, disclosed that the victim was responding to treatment, adding that no death has been reported.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has warned that Nigerians may experience increased incidents of heat-related diseases such as cerebrospinal meningitis, stroke and rashes in most parts of the country.
While urging the Federal Government to make adequate preparations for emergency situations, the agency explained that the danger was due to high temperature recorded in March and April this year.