By Asma’u Ahmad
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has commended Nigeria for its swift response to tackle the meningitis epidemic in some parts of the country. The Country Representative of the organisation in Nigeria, Dr. Alemu Wondi, made the commendation in Sokoto on Thursday when he paid a courtesy visit on the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III.
“We are here to see how to contribute to shorten the period of the outbreak in the state and other parts of Nigeria. Nigeria has also made crucial efforts to eradicate polio, although the country is yet to be certified polio free. “Routine immunisation is the backbone of disease control and more should be done to ensure its utilisation,” he said.
Mr. Wondi promised to continue to support Nigeria to improve its health indices. He also lauded the sultan for being a champion of maternal health in the nation. Responding, Sultan Abubakar III commended WHO for its support to Nigeria and commended Mr. Mondi for “being a proactive leader.”
The sultan reiterated his commitment to ensure efficient delivery of health services to Nigerians. He said: “Health is wealth and we will do everything humanly possible to boost health delivery in the country. We will sustain our partnership with WHO and other development partners in this direction.
Mr. Wondi had earlier visited the Sokoto state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Balarabe Kakale, where he told him that he is in the state to assess the situation, brainstorm and extend WHO support on the ways forward. “We must commend the state government for investing huge human and material resources to combat the menace.”
In his response, Dr. Kakale told Wondi that the state had exited the epidemic phase into the recovery phase. “We have opened a referral centre at the Murtala General Hospital, Sokoto, all the isolation camps set up across the state during the peak of the epidemic have been closed down.
“We must commend WHO and other development partners for their support to Nigeria and Sokoto state. The epidemic is going down and the state has controlled the meningitis epidemic 10 days ago,” Dr. Kakale said. Our correspondent report that the state has learnt some hard lessons as regards emergency response, sequel to the epidemic.