By Desmond Ejibas
Dr Fred Weli, a family health expert in Port Harcourt, says Nigeria will need about 2 million doses of vaccine to fight current meningitis epidemic.
Weli told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Port Harcourt on Wednesday that current 500,000 doses available in the country were grossly inadequate to fight the epidemic.
Nigeria recently received 500,000 doses of meningitis C vaccine from the World Health Organisation (WHO) to combat the epidemic that has caused the death of 489 deaths across four states.
Weli expressed optimism that the 2 million vaccines would checkmate the epidemic in the worst hit states of Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara, and halt its spread to other states.
According to him, 336 new cases have been recorded in 16 states and 19 local government areas which are quite worrisome.
“The country currently has about 500,000 doses of vaccines which is a far cry to the about 2 million needed to fight the scourge in some parts of the country.
“So far, procurement of the vaccine has not been fast enough and the fact remains that the vaccines are needed quickly as possible for the disease to be contained,” he said.
Weli said that meningitis could be transmitted and spread from individual to another through throat secretion, sneezing, coughing and contact with infected materials.
He said that meningitis which was similar to Ebola could be avoided through good personal hygiene like washing and sanitising one’s hand after using the toilet, among others.
“We can also checkmate the spread of meningitis by coughing and sneezing into our elbows or tissue papers rather than into someone else’s face or handkerchief.
“We need the right education, sensitisation and awareness to checkmate the disease, and as such, everyone must get involved,” he said.
Weli said that there was no case of the disease in Rivers, but that it was not enough for residents to relax “especially as the disease had been reported in Lagos and Cross River states”.
The healthcare worker urged residents to report cases of high fever, headache, stiff neck, memory loss, convulsion and loss of appetite to nearest health facility for proper diagnosis of the patient.