Nigeria to launch meningitis jab campaign as death toll jumps to 336

Meningitis is caused by bacteria and is an inflammation of the tissue that covers the brain and spinal cord according to the Centers for Disease Control

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Federal Government said it has also activated an Emergency Operations Centre to manage the epidemic.

Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State has said that the outbreak of Type C Cerebrospinal Meningitis in the country was a direct punishment from God to the people of Nigeria for their various sinful acts. "The team will also deploy and coordinate a robust national communication and social mobilization campaign, focused on CSM prevention and control in rural and urban areas of affected states".

About 215 people have died from suspected cases of Cerebro Spinal Meningitis in Zamfara State.

According to him, already 1,344 people have been trained as vaccinators and they have been divided into 224 groups of six people each. "We can not 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.

In an interview with newsmen, the Plateau State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Kunden Deyin, disclosed that Plateau has recorded five suspected cases of the ailment in Langtang South and Mikang local governments of the state.

"If this had been detected early, then we would have had rounds of vaccinations and would not be having this epidemic", he said.

The Meningitis outbreak started in Zamfara before it spread to other states.

Governor Yari said this while speaking to State House correspondents following a meeting with President Muhammdu Buhari at the Presidential Villa Abuja on Tuesday.

During the weekend, the Zamfara chapter of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) accused Yari's government of not doing enough to forestall the outbreak of the disease.

Nigeria, which lies on the meningitis belt, stretching from the Sahel region to the Horn of Africa, is used to type A meningitis outbreaks.

"It is strongly advised for people to avoid overcrowding in living quarters, provide cross ventilation in sleeping and work-rooms and other places where many people come together and get vaccinated with CSM vaccine when you are travelling to areas where Meningitis outbreaks have been reported", he said.

"There is no way fornication will be so rampant and God will not send a disease that can not be cured", the governor said.

However, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency said the country needed about 1.1 billion dollars for the vaccination of 22 million persons in the states affected by the "Type C CSM".

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