[Abuja]–The World Health Organization has said that Nigeria has received 500,000 doses of meningitis C containing vaccine to combat the epidemic in the country.
This was made known by the Dr Wondi Alemu, the WHO Country Representative to Nigeria, in a statement in Abuja on Friday.
He disclosed that the doses were sent by the International Coordinating Group (ICG) on Vaccine Provision, an organisation that coordinates the provision of vaccine during outbreak emergencies.
He mentioned that additional 820,000 doses of the meningitis C conjugate vaccine donated by the UK government to WHO was currently being sent to Nigeria.
“A vaccination campaign is underway in Nigeria to contain an outbreak of meningitis C, a strain of meningitis which first emerged in the country in 2013.
“In 2013, the outbreak was initially limited to a few areas in Kebbi and Sokoto States. However, in 2015, more than 2,500 cases of the disease have been reported across 3 states in the country.
“Since the beginning of this year, the country has reported 4,637 suspected cases and 489 deaths across five states.
“WHO’s Country Office in Nigeria, including a number of field offices, have been supporting the government since the meningitis outbreak began.
“In addition to improving the care of the sick, we are focusing on ensuring accurate information about the spread of the outbreak is available as quickly as possible to help us make the most effective use of vaccines,” Alemu said.
He said that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) with support from WHO, the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC), UNICEF and other partners were leading the response to the on-going outbreak.
“The more effective and long-lasting conjugate vaccines, however, are not readily accessible for outbreak response in the region. The ICG global emergency stockpile currently has approximately 1.2 million doses of meningitis C-containing vaccines left.
“The very limited supply of vaccines to control outbreaks of meningitis C can affect our ability to control these epidemics.
“In the long term, the accelerated development of affordable and effective conjugate vaccines to cover all epidemic types of meningitis is a high priority for WHO and partners,” Alemu said.Please Follow Us @ThePageNg