THE Federal Government has declared Nigeria free from the latest ‘Type C’ deadly Cerebrospinal Meningitis (CSM), which claimed 1,166 lives in the country since its outbreak in late 2016.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, in a statement Saturday, said with the decline in cases, the 2016/2017 meningitis outbreak was over and the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) responding to the epidemic has been stepped down.
He declared that the outbreak has been in constant decline for eight weeks and the affected states have recorded much fewer new cases.
In the last four weeks, he said, “no local government area has reached outbreak alert threshold. By the 16th of June 2017 when the EOC was stepped down, a total of 14,518 suspected cases of meningitis were reported from 25 states, with 1,166 deaths, giving a case fatality rate of 8 per cent.”
He stated that NCDC, the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) and partner organisations worked assiduously to reduce the impact of the outbreak on affected communities, adding that the NCDC established a National Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) which coordinated the national outbreak response.
This, he said, included the deployment of Rapid Response Teams (RRT) to the most affected States to strengthen surveillance, case management, laboratory capacity and risk communication.
Ihekweazu said: “The planning process to prevent future outbreaks and ensuring better preparedness for the next epidemic season has begun. Laboratory capacity has been improved with the recent operationalisation of the new National Reference Laboratory in Gaduwa, Abuja with support from the Federal Ministry of Health, the US CDC and the World Health Organisation.
“NCDC is also coordinating a network of laboratories across the country to improve case confirmation capacity. National guidelines towards responding to future outbreaks are being developed together with ongoing continuous awareness campaigns, keeping the general public informed. Workshops to improve preparedness are also being organised.”
He noted that the reactive vaccination campaigns led by the NPHCDA were successfully conducted in Zamfara, Sokoto, Yobe and Katsina States, with the full engagement of the state governments to ensure that the vaccines reached the most at-risk population.
The NCDC boss, however, assured that enhanced surveillance will continue to ensure the protection of all Nigerians against infectious disease threats.
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