THE Federal Government is expecting 820,000 doses of Cerebrospinal Meningitis (CSM) vaccines from the United Kingdom to help it to curtail the outbreak of the disease which has claimed the lives of about 336 people.
It has already started the administration of available 500,000 doses to tackle the Type A virus which has proved daunting for health authorities in the country.
Minister of State for Health, Osagie Ehanire, disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents after a meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday, saying that the outbreak took the nation by surprise.
He said: “We have mobilised vaccines in from all corners. 500,000 units doses of vaccines are being distributed and they have started vaccination campaign already.
“Government is also getting 826,000 units which are being shipped from Europe to us within the next fear days.”
Ehanire, who briefed the council on the effort to curtail the disease, said there has been a very robust response of the ministry and governments of the states concerned along with the Nigerian Center for Disease Control, Nigeria Primary Health Care development agencies, World Health Organization, UNICEF and other partners.
He explained that the outbreak was not as a result of failure of the government.
According to him, “What has caused this problem to be peculiar is that it is caused by a total different strand of the Meningitis germ. It is the Type C.
“This country before suffers Meningitis around this time of year when dry season is turning to raining season in the area called the Meningitis belt that ranges all the way from Senegal down to Ethiopia, Eritrea. And the prevailing germ was the Meningecocus A.
“And the mass vaccination that has taken place all these years has led to almost total elimination of Type A.
“Type C has been very rare and this year it is the Type C that appeared. Unfortunately there is no cross immunization. If you are immune to Type A doesn’t make you immune to Type C.
“And because Type was very rear, the availability of vaccines was been very meager relatively.
Giving a breakdown of the extent of infection, he said: “As of today, there have been 2,996 cases in 16 states and 54 local governments. There have been 336 fatalities of which 141 have been confirmed by laboratory tests.
“The most affected states have been Zamfara, Sokoto and Katsina and together they have about 85 percent of the cases.
“There is reactive vaccinations going on already, there is social mobilization going on, teams are working in various states affected particularly the most affected ones.”
Meanwhile, the National Caretaker Committee (NCC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the All Progressive Congress (APC) federal government of mismanaging the CSM outbreak out of incompetence.
In a statement issued on Wednesday in Abuja, the spokesman of the committee, Dayo Adeyeye, it also called on Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari to resign for blaming the disease on fornication. The statement noted that the outbreak and the apathetic attitude of both the Zamfara State and federal government to curtail it, saying that that it was “disheartening and preposterous.”
It said even though the primary responsibility of any government was to protect the lives and property of its citizens and “the APC led Government has remain insensitive, careless and adamant to the plight of Nigerians in all ramification.”
The statement added: “This Government wasted so much funds on the State House Clinic with no tangible result but neglected other health centers and clinics across the Country that have capacities to manage the health challenges of other Nigerians.
“As of Tuesday, April 4, 2017, about 336 Nigerians have lost their lives due to the outbreak of type C Cerebrospinal Meningitis and the Federal Ministry of Health has not taken any concrete step to contend with the spread.
“It is on record that the PDP Government in sixteen years did not allow such mindless display of insensitivity as seen by this APC Administration.
“More worrisome is the Statement credited to the Governor of Zamfara State, Alhaji Abdullaziz Yari in which he attributed the outbreak of Meningitis to God’s making. This is shameful and very unfortunate as the APC has run out of reasons to blame previous PDP administration but it’s now blaming God for its failures.
“Governor Yari should not blame God for his failures but that of his Party, the APC, to avoid incurring God’s anger on their crass ineptitude in governance. However, we wish to advise him to resign immediately for making such statement as a state Governor and the Chairman of Governors Forum who is supposed to bring hope to the people and not despair.”
The PDP called on government to stop playing politics with the outbreak and do everything within its power to end the menace.