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FG sets up Response Team to fight Meningitis

By Ndidi Chukwu

The Federal Government of Nigeria has set up an emergency Operations Center through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), National Primary Healthcare Development Agency and other partners to manage the
ongoing outbreak of Cerebrospinal Meningitis.

A press statement from the NCDC, said this brings the national response into an Incidence Management System, to ensure that all activities across the country will be managed using a clear command and control structure led by an Incident Manager who reports through the Chief Executive Officer of the NCDC to the Minister of Health.

The statement said with the the new coordinating structure, “the country will have a tight, multi-partner team of experts pulled from the most competent agencies focusing on outbreak control in Nigeria.”

According to the statement, the Head of Emergency Preparedness and Response at the NCDC, Dr. John Oladejo, will act as Incident Manager of the response, while experts from the Federal Ministry of Health, NCDC, NPHCDA, WHO, UNICEF, Africa CDC, US CDC, Medecins Sans Frontieres, AFENET, University of Maryland and E-Health Africa take  key roles in different units that focus on five key components of the outbreak response.

Our correspondent report that with the new team structure, all meningitis outbreak response activities are now being coordinated in one place.

It also announced that so far a total of 500,000 doses of Meningitis C vaccines have been distributed to some of the affected states for immediate outbreak response vaccination.

While an additional 823, 970 doses of Meningitis C vaccines are expected from the United Kingdom to support vaccination activities in other affected states.

“The EOC will support state-wide vaccination campaign which starts in Zamfara state on Wednesday April 5, 2017. The team will also deploy and coordinate a robust national communication and social mobilization campaign, focused on meningitis prevention and control in rural and urban areas of affected states,” the statement read.

Newsmen report that as at April 3, 2017, a total of 2, 997 suspected cases of meningitis have been reported in 16 states in Nigeria, of which 146 have been laboratory-confirmed.

Also, 336 deaths have been recorded, the NCDC however says it is confident Nigeria can turn the tide with increasing vaccination activities, and expects reduction in number of cases.

About Asmau Ahmad

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