Meningitis Outbreak. Nigeria Says Need $1.1B For Vaccines. Explaining that each vaccine costs between $30 and $50, the Acting Director General of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Emmanuel Odu, yesterday, said that $1.1 billion was needed for the vaccination of 22 million persons in the five states affected by the outbreak of the Type C cerebro-spinal meningitis.
Odu stated this while briefing the Senate Committee on Primary Healthcare and Communicable Diseases on efforts being made by the government to contain the disease. He noted that five affected states were Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina and Niger, pointing out that 16 other states had recorded at least one case each of the disease while the death toll had risen to 328, from 2,524 cases. He said the 16 states would be part of the centre’s response approach, lamenting that the centre was hampered by inadequate funding and limited manpower, in carrying out its mandate.
He said that the vaccination for the Type C strain of the disease would commence tomorrow, following the procurement of the vaccines from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Briefing the committee on efforts being made to contain the epidemic, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO)/National Coordinator of the NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, said the Type C strain of the disease was new to West Africa, saying that it was responsible for the seeming unpreparedness to tackle it. Ihekweazu said the vaccine was only procured two weeks ago as the criteria for application are that the country must be experiencing an outbreak.
He noted that the centre, working in collaboration with the state governments, Ministry of Health, and the National Primary Healthcare Commission, had adopted a three pronged line of action for prevention, early detection and pushing hard to ensure the vaccines are available.
He further stressed the need for the procurement of adequate vaccines to immunize Nigerians ahead of the 2018 heat season. He admitted that while the centre had sent support teams to Zamfara and other affected states for rapid response, with the establishment of treatment centres, not much had been done with the 16 states that were not fully affected.