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As the Nigerian government appears overwhelmed by the spread of cerebrospinal meningitis (CRM), the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) and key stakeholders in the health sector have raised concern over the lack of health emergency preparedness plan by the country, which they argued is worsening the spread of the disease.
Already, more than 300 deaths have been recorded in the country, with the Federal Government absolute reliance on the provision of vaccine by the World Health Organisation (WHO) also worsening the spread of the outbreak, since the type C vaccine is largely scarce.
“Various epidemiological studies have been conducted in the past on the trend of cerebrospinal meningitis in Nigeria. Type C strain of Neisseria meningitis was involved in the epidemics in the past in Nigeria.
“The country has a pattern of climate change and we should have emergency medical preparedness plans that should be activated to avert disasters,” Mike Ogirima, president of NMA, told BusinessDay in an interview, on the sidelines of the commemoration of World Health Day.
Also, the NMA president further condemned Federal Government’s reactionary measures to issues surrounding the epidemic, stating that,”For immunization to be effective it must have been administered around three months before the period of clinical manifestation due to the latent period.”
He said, “Nigeria was able to produce her vaccines in 1947 to fight the Small Pox epidemics. What has gone wrong with Yaba vaccines production laboratory since 1991 is embarrassing?
“We demand immediate resuscitation of local vaccine production (LVP) at Yaba, and expansion of the scope of LVP at National Veterinary Research Institute, Vom. Researchers as far back as 1975 showed the various epidemics of CSM as to the type of strains involved. It is embarrassing again to note that this epidemic has taken us unaware.”
Currently, the government has accessed 1.3 million vaccines from the WHO, but not sufficient to address the threat posed by the spread of the disease in 16 states, prompting experts to call for a home-grown solution that addressed the disease once and for all.
Notably, the death toll from CSM has risen to over 300 deaths, with about 2,524 people now affected by the epidemic, while more states currently live with the burden of the disease.
via Business Day