Nigeria needs robust surveillance to end Meningitis outbreak - WHO
By Mohammad Ibrahim
Apt 13, Abuja: WHO Country Representative Dr Wondimagegnehu Alemu said robust surveillance system is required to identify initial cases that have been occurring in the affected States across Nigeria. According to him, Nigeria authorities need to spend more and invest on detection, outbreak investigation and detection at early stage.
Dr Alemu who disclosed this while speaking at the Emergency Meeting of Northern Traditional Leaders committee on Phone in Northwest held in Kaduna appreciated the timely response of the Federal Government's team to the Meningitis outbreak. " We also appreciate that there is enough space for us to work with governments both at federal and state levels, that is well appreciated by us. "We also value the critical role of traditional leaders in promoting health, preventing diseases and encouraging compliance of people affected by the diseases. " It is often said, health is wealth and none of you likes to see or have sick people. It is from that perspective I see committed leaders, officially elected, as well as traditional leaders, standing for their people. "I am not going to go into the details, but in the past, meningitis type A was the one that ravaged most of this areas. Since you have successfully conducted the preventive vaccination, it has now shifted.
"The current type C is a new one. It has never been known to cause this magnitude of outbreak, it used to be only sporadic cases. So, that has left us with no option than to rely on few of the tools that we have including few number vaccines that are available at global level, through the strategy contingency plan. "The government has applied and has received and judiciously distributed to the affected places and the vaccination has taken place. More is coming on the way. " Now, I will like to take this opportunity as I conclude that, in as much as we are happy that the surveillance work was able to pick up, the response was very good and the timely response, particularly from all levels was commendable, but going forward, we believe that we need to spend more and invest on detection, outbreak investigation and detection, particularly in rolling out robust surveillance system, robust surveillance system is required to identify initial cases that have been occurring in those areas particularly. "A good example is the number of 500 cases accidentally discovered sometimes last year in Zamfara.
That would have been been avoided if there was a robust surveillance system. "WHO is committed to work with government, particularly with the Federal Ministry of Health and with the states, starting with Sokoto and Zamfara to Katsina, depending on the availability of resources to build that robust surveillance system, starting from health facilities, to LGAs and finally at the national level. "The reason is that, these colleagues at LGA level could spend more of their time, analysing the data and find out needs to be done as a matter of rapid response. The second one is along with this, having a stock of vaccine, medicine, depending on their availability and also the medical supplies. "These are the areas where the Honorable Minister, the officials of the ministry of health and Governors need to please invest and help to particularly avoid any future outbreak or stampede at initial stage " he said.
The Oslo Times International News Network