According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Nigeria has keyed into the global roadmap launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) which sets to defeat Cerebrospinal Meningitis, CSM, by 2030.
Vanguard reports that Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, the NCDC Director-General, mentioned this in a statement. Dr.Ihekweazu mentioned that this move shows their significant commitment towards battling meningitis. According to him, this is critical for us because meningitis is a major public health challenge in Nigeria.
He stated that the global roap map has set out a plan to fight the main causes of acute bacterial meningitis through three strategic goals. The goals are; eliminate epidemics of bacterial meningitis, reduce the cases of vaccine-preventable bacterial meningitis by 50% and reduce the deaths by 70%, and also improve the quality of life after meningitis.
“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.” The statement read.
He noted that since the meningitis outbreak in 2016/2017, there have been over 1,160 deaths from the disease and NCDC has been working closely with different states to battle the outbreak. He also mentioned that they have received support from the WHo and other partners towards strengthening their detection and response to the disease.
He stated that some of the interventions that the NCDC led included the training of clinicians on managing cases of meningitis and lumbar puncture. This led to an increase in the rate of confirmation of cases.
He also mentioned that this year, the NCDC collaborated with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), WHO, and University College London to start a pilot study.
“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, we remain committed to contributing to global research and development.” The statement read.
He explained that the successful implementation of the global strategy to defeat meningitis would depend on strong political commitment. It would also depend on a whole-of-society approach at the country, regional and global level.