A statement issued on Wednesday, October 5 by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) confirmed that no fewer than fifty-six people have died of meningitis in the country.
The agency through its Director-General, Ifedayo Adetifa, revealed that 961 cases of the disease were recorded so far in 2022.
Today, October 5th marked World Meningitis Day, hence the agency raises awareness of the spreading disease. Adetifa’s statement obtained by newsmen read: “Despite significant progress in surveillance, diagnostic capacity and vaccine development over the last few years, CSM remains a priority disease and ever-present public health threat in several countries worldwide with frequent epidemics that present a challenge for people, health systems, economies, and societies.
“To this end, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention on behalf of Nigeria joined the global community to launch the global roadmap to defeat meningitis by 2030. The Defeating Meningitis by 2030 global roadmap was approved by the World Health Assembly in November 2020. Alignment and local translation of this roadmap are especially critical for Nigeria where meningitis remains one of many often-concurrent public health challenges.
“This road map sets a comprehensive vision for 2030 “Towards a world free of meningitis”, with three strategic goals: eliminate epidemics of bacterial meningitis; reduce cases of vaccine-preventable bacterial meningitis by 50% and deaths by 70%; reduce disability and improve quality of life after meningitis infection of any cause.”
The NCDC reiterated its commitment with the support of partners to work with affected states to improve surveillance given the underreporting of cases and execute strategic prevention and control activities all in a bid to strengthen preparedness, detection, and response to meningitis outbreaks.
According to Adetifa, the agency has an active National CSM Technical Working Group that has worked with partners and stakeholders to develop guidelines, checklists, and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for meningitis response.
He said: “We are also working on enhancing meningitis surveillance at the subnational level, especially in high-burden states. Furthermore, with the support of partners, a National CSM Epidemic Preparedness & Response plan has been developed. Currently, there is a network of 29 public laboratories with the capacity to diagnose CSM across the country. We continue to render technical support for state planning, and capacity building to states in support of the prevention and control of meningitis.
“For us to successfully achieve the vision of a world free of meningitis, there must be strong buy-in from Nigerians as well as political leaders across all levels of government. We continue to work with the Federal Ministry of Health and our sister agency, the Nigeria Primary Health Care Development Agency as well as other partners to ensure nobody is left behind in the fight against meningitis.”