By Mary Jalingo
The Director of Public Health at the Niger State Ministry of Health, Dr. Usman Mohammed, said 33 people have so far died from Meningitis in the state.
The director who stated this during an interactive session between members of the Healthcare Financing Technical Working Group (HCF/TWG0 and the legislators at the state House of Assembly Conference Hall on Tuesday in Minna, said the figure is out of the total number of 119 recorded cases in the state.
Dr. Mohammed said of the 33 deaths recorded, 31 were from Magama Local government Area, one from Rijau LGA and the other one from Kontagora LGA. He said immediately the outbreak was announced in the 3 LGAs, the ministry of health swung into action by providing three General Hospitals at Nasko, Auna, Kontagora and an additional PHC at Ibeto with the required drugs to manage the cases free.
He said the major challenge the state was facing especially in Magama LGA, is that people are not willing to come out to the facility to access care as most of the death recorded occurred at home. Dr. Mohammed added that if people had come out to access care, probably some lives would have been saved. He said presently, the state was doing contact tracing from house to house and giving drugs to those found with the symptoms and also members of the families to protect them which he noted has helped a lot.
On the issue of vaccines, he said the state has fulfil the criteria for access to vaccine as the state have requested twice but is yet to access the vaccines. He said to handle the spread of the disease which he described as dangerous and infectious that begins to manifest 4-6 days of contacting the bacteria with symptoms like headache, fever, neck pain, loss of consciousness and death, the state was working with the Center for Disease Control and Doctors without Borders to ensure that there are no new cases of the disease.
The Director said the state was embarking on aggressive sensitization to enlightened citizens on how to prevent the disease and urged people of the state to stay away from over-crowded situations and practices personal hygiene.