The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in a statement released on Wednesday to welcome the launch of the global roadmap to defeat meningitis by 2030 by the World Health Organisation (WHO) disclosed that Nigeria still records annual large outbreaks of meningitis despite interventions.
According to the NCDC Director General, Chikwe Ihekweazu, though Nigeria had implemented various interventions including the introduction of the Meningitis A Conjugate vaccine in the routine immunisation schedule to tackle the disease, Cerebrospinal Meningitis is a priority epidemic-prone disease with cases reported all year round in Nigeria.
He said, “Given Nigeria’s experience with annual outbreaks of meningitis, we remain committed to contributing to global research and development.
“As the agency with the mandate to lead the prevention, detection and control to 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.”
Ihekweazu noted that, the launch of the roadmap on Tuesday by the WHO illustrates significant commitment towards meningitis control.
He stressed that the roadmap is critical for Nigeria as meningitis remains a major public health challenge in the country.
“The global roadmap sets out a plan to tackle the main causes of acute bacterial meningitis through three strategic goals: eliminate epidemics of bacterial meningitis; reduce cases of vaccine-preventable bacterial meningitis by 50 per cent and deaths by 70 per cent.
“The third strategy is to reduce disability and improve quality of life after meningitis of any cause.
“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, our support is towards strengthening preparedness, detection and response to meningitis,” Ihekweazu said.
Some of the interventions led by NCDC, according to him include the training of clinicians on case management of meningitis and lumbar puncture to increase the rate of confirmation of cases.
Ihekweazu, however, stated that the successful implementation of the global strategy to defeat meningitis would depend on strong political commitment and a whole-of-society approach at the country, regional and global level.
The NCDC DG urged the public to be aware of the danger posed by meningitis and adhere to the known preventive measures.