By Chioma Umeha
The number of new cases of suspected Cerebro Spinal Meningitis (CSM) is declining as outbreak control measures have continued to take effect, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
Dr Lawal Bakare, Communication Manager of NCDC, who said this in a statement in Abuja on weekend, explained that the cumulative number of suspected cases recorded in Nigeria throughout the outbreak period was now 9, 646 and 839 deaths from 43 local government areas in 23 states.
“A total of 628 new cases were reported in week 16 against 1,935 in week 15 and 2,127 in week 14.
“While the total number of suspected cases will rise with each new case, the number of new cases recorded per week is dropping in the affected states indicating that the outbreak is likely to have peaked.
“We expect a continued decline in the number of new cases with the intensification of control measures in the affected states,’’ Bakare said.
He said that the national response has identified the need to provide technical support to all affected states in the areas of case management, epidemiology and risk communication.
The manager added that support teams were currently being deployed to the most severely affected states of Zamfara and Sokoto to further strengthen and support the states in their response.
Bakare further said that a large reactive vaccination campaign, which would cover over 800,000 persons aged between two and 29 years would commence in Sokoto on April 27.
He explained that a national support team, led by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), would be providing support to Sokoto state in order to ensure that vaccination activities were well coordinated.
“Partners from the World Health Organisation (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and others are all collaborating with NPHCDA and NCDC to provide the best possible support to Sokoto during the vaccination.
“Teams have been mobilised to all the LGAs in Sokoto State, and people are being mobilised to turn out en mass to be vaccinated,’’ he said.
According to Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, the Chief Executive Officer of NCDC, the lessons from this outbreak would inform our future response activities.
“This includes the need to strengthen awareness, improve clinical skills of health workers, strengthen laboratory capacities to confirm the diagnosis of meningitis promptly,’’ he said.