Nigeria joins WHO on global roadmap to defeat meningitis

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) joins the global community to welcome the launch of the global roadmap to defeat meningitis by 2030.

The launch of the roadmap by the World Health Organization (WHO) on the 28th of September 2021 illustrates a significant commitment towards meningitis control. This is especially critical for Nigeria as meningitis remains a major public health challenge.

The global road map sets out a plan to tackle the main causes of acute bacterial meningitis through three strategic goals such as; eliminate epidemics of bacterial meningitis; reduce cases of vaccine-preventable bacterial meningitis by 50% and deaths by 70% and reduce disability and improve the quality of life after meningitis of any cause.

Although Nigeria has implemented interventions including the introduction of the Meningitis A Conjugate vaccine in the routine immunisation schedule, the country records annual large outbreaks of meningitis.

Since the 2016/2017 meningitis outbreak in Nigeria that led to over 1,160 deaths.

NCDC has continued to work closely with states within the meningitis belt. With support from WHO and partners, the support is towards strengthening preparedness, detection and response to meningitis.

Some of the interventions led by NCDC include the training of clinicians on case management of meningitis and lumbar puncture to increase the rate of confirmation of cases.

Additionally, NCDC has coordinated the establishment and operationalisation of a network of laboratories with the capacity to confirm cerebrospinal meningitis.

To enable this, NCDC continues to support human resource training, provision of medical and laboratory supplies, development and dissemination of disease guidelines among other activities.

In 2021, NCDC began a pilot study in collaboration with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), World Health Organisation and University College, London.

This is to develop approaches that can increase the diagnostic yield of confirmed meningitis and enable early detection of outbreaks. Given Nigeria’s experience with annual outbreaks of meningitis, NCDC remains committed to contributing to global research and development.

The successful implementation of the global strategy to defeat meningitis will depend on strong political commitment and a whole-of-society approach at the country, regional and global level.

As the agency with the mandate to lead the prevention, detection and control of disease outbreaks, NCDC remains committed to working with states, WHO and other partners in implementing the roadmap to defeat meningitis by 2030 in Nigeria and globally.

This is in close coordination with the Federal Ministry of Health, National Primary Health Care Development Agency and other government institutions.

Cerebrospinal Meningitis (CSM) is a priority epidemic-prone disease with cases reported all year round in Nigeria.

The highest burden occurs in the part of sub-Saharan Africa known as the “Meningitis Belt”. In Nigeria, the belt covers all the 19 northern states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). NCDC will continue to urge the public to be aware of the danger posed by meningitis and adhere to the known preventive measures.

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