Nigeria meningitis outbreak death toll hits 489

Nigerian government says it needs more than $1 billion for vaccines to eradicate meningitis epidemic in the five most affected northern states, as the death toll has climbed to 489, the minister of health, Issac Adewole, said on Tuesday.


Mr. Adewole disclosed this while addressing an emergency meeting of the northern traditional council and the 19 northern state governors on Tuesday in Kaduna.

NAN reports that the meeting was convened by the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III, to outline measures to tackle the outbreak of meningitis epidemic in five states of the northern region.

Adewole said that the federal government needed $1.087 billion to procure vaccines and administer on some 21 million persons against meningitis which broke out in February in Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger and Katsina states.

He said the federal government had collaborated with the state governments and international development partners to tackle the outbreak in some 26 states so far affected in the country.

According to him, so far, 489 deaths had been confirmed in the 4,637 cases recorded as at April 10.

He said that among the cases, 171 were confirmed to be the Type ‘C’ of meningitis strand with Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Niger and Kebbi states as most affected.

He said that so far, 823,000 doses of conjugated type C had been delivered to the federal government by the UK government, while UNICEF had delivered over one million Type A vaccines.

The minister said the vaccines were enough to tackle the outbreak in the most affected states.

He appealed to the traditional rulers in the region to be more proactive with media and other forms of campaigns to sensitise people on the need for good hygiene and ventilation as well as avoid overcrowding in their homes.

Adewole, however, appealed to state governments to increase their funding of the health sector to address the health challenges in the region.

He urged the governors to invest more funds in revitalising the health system in the northern states to tackle healthcare challenges.

He explained that the country needed to increase its funding from $85 million to $378 million by 2025 to be able to meet up with the health challenges.

Adewole said the federal government had embarked on the upgrading of 10,000 primary healthcare centres across the country.

The minister also urged state governments to tackle corruption among state officials to enable them to strengthen the weak health system in the region.

“You must stop corruption, when funds are released, utilise the funds properly by tracking and proper monitoring,” he said.

SOURCE: African Spotlight