The epidemic of meningitis in the North of Nigeria durign five months made 745 deaths, according to the Nigerian national Center of surveillance of the diseases ( NCDC). 745 deaths were registered on more than 8 000 counted suspected cases, reports the NCDC, in spite of a vast vaccination led by the authorities. The immense majority of the suspected case (93 %) were listed in five States of the North of Nigeria: Zamfara – Where the first wave of meningitis appeared, between 12 and on December 18th, 2016 -, Sokoto, Katsina, Kebbi and Niger. Meetings also took place between the governors of the affected States, the federal authorities and the traditional leaders of the North, to suit campaigns of prevention and raising awareness to be led locally to stop the epidemic. About 420 000 people were already vaccined and Nigeria received 823 000 doses of vaccines from Great Britain to pursue its campaign, according to the statements of Secretary of State for Health, Osagie Ehanire.
The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, raised an alarm over the outbreak of Cerebro Spinal Meningitis across north-western Nigeria. The first case of the disease was reported in Zamfara State in November, 2016, by then the disease had become an epidemic affecting six states in the northern part of the country. Since the outbreak, about 489 people are believed to have died of the disease with about 4,637 suspected cases reported across the country. Meningitis has occurred in different parts of the world but the highest incidence of the disease is found in the ‘meningitis belt’ of sub-Saharan Africa including Senegal, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Nigeria, Niger, Chad, more commonly seen during the dry season. In this meningitis belt, the Type A strain of the bacteria was most common, however, it is the unusual Type C strain of the bacteria that Nigeria is currently battling with, which does not even mean that type A has been eliminated totally. Procuring vaccinations and drugs to contain the spread of the deadly disease became a major concern for international health agencies, the federal government, state governments, local governments and concerned individuals across the globe.
Minister of Health Isaac Adewole has confiermed that so far 328 people have died of suspected meningitis in Zamfara and Katsina states. The minister said extensive efforts had been deployed to avoid the further spread of the epidemic, also the discussion with WHO (World Health Organization) and UNICEF for supplies of vaccines and injections. Till now 500,000 doses of meningococcal vaccines have been secured, with an additional 800,000 units from the British government, By next Tuesday, there will be a meeting with the International Review Group of The World Health Organization (WHO) where request for additional vaccines shall be approved. Nigeria had always been bedeviled with the stereotype A in years past, but this new bacteria vaccine, Meningitis Stereotype C, is not commercially available, can only be shipped to the country by WHO. All Nigerians especially residents of Katsina, Kano, Kebbi, Sokoto, Niger, Zamfara and Jigawa states are advised to pay attention to symptoms of Cerebro Spinal Meningitis (CSM) and avoid clogging together in unventilated and over-crowded rooms.