Meningitis: Zamfara Patients Buy Own Drugs, Sleep On Ground

By Chioma Umeha
As the meningitis scourge continue to claim more lives in Zamfara, many patients are left to cater for themselves despite government spending to contain the epidemic in the state.
According to reports, many patients use their money to buy drugs even though the State Government had since declared that the treatment and cost of drugs were free.
Drugs like Dexarose, Ceftariazole and other consumables like plasters, which were purchased in large quantity following the release of more than N100 million by the state government, were still being bought by the patients at nearby patent medicine stores.
Some patients told journalists that hospital officials gave them the list of the same drugs and directed them to specific chemists where they could get them.
Relatives of the patients who went to buy the drugs told journalists that “Sometimes, we are stopped by the chemists within the hospital premises and they give us the required drugs and when we come back, the attendants will collect back the paper.”
However, Gov. Abdulaziz Yari, had expressed disappointment over the plight of patients during unscheduled visits to the emergency camps set up for Cerebro Spinal Meningitis (CSM) patients on Sunday and Monday.
The governor particularly noted with dissatisfaction that the environment of the camps were unkempt as the patients were lying on bare sand, while drips being administered were hung on sticks.
He directed the five-member Meningitis Control Committee under the chairmanship of the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Abdullahi Shinkafi, to explain the situation.
According to media reports, the governor decried the performance of the committee at all the centres he visited.