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A weak Primary Health Care system, low knowledge of disease symptoms among health workers and poor disease surveillance outlook across the country are the major contributing factors to epidemic outbreak of preventable diseases across the country.
The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, made this observation on Tuesday in Kaduna at an emergency meeting of Northern traditional leaders and stakeholders summoned over the outbreak of Cerebro Spinal Meningitis, CSM, in Nigeria.
The northern part of Nigeria has been worst hit by the epidemic since the first meningitis outbreak was recorded in Zamfara State in November 2016.
The outbreak has quickly spread across 130 local government areas in 21 states in the country, with the current reported suspected cases put at 4,637 and the death toll put at 489.
The enlightenment meeting on Tuesday in Kaduna, which was at the instance of the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, was attended by traditional rulers from across the 19 northern states, representatives of the state governors and their commissioners of health.
Mr. Adewole stressed the need for the traditional rulers to assist government in educating their people on the need to always seek medical attention when ill and to exhibit good health practices.
He, however, attributed the current epidemic to the inefficiency of health facilities at the local level, saying most of them are not capable of quickly picking up disease cases when presented.
“There is a need for retraining health of workers, especially at the (Primary Health Centres) PHCs level on pathological symptoms of diseases for them to understand and pick up the disease”, the minister told the meeting.