Nigeria: New Drug to Address Deadly Meningitis in Nigeria

Abuja — Nigeria has introduced a new vaccine into its immunisation scheduled to curb the spread of meningitis that has left hundreds of people dead in recent months.

The introduction of Meningitis A Conjugate Vaccine into the routine Expanded Programme on Immunisation schedule follows the prevalence of the disease in 25 states and the Federal Capital Territory where 26,7 millions of Nigerians are at risk.

In 2018, there were 4 516 reported cases and 364 deaths in Nigeria .

Children are worst affected.

"I therefore call on all mothers to ensure their children are vaccinated from this disease," said Dr Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA).

Meningitis is an infection of the thin lining that surrounds the brain and spinal cord, called the meninges.

Meningococcal meningitis, which Nigeria is enduring, is the bacterial form of meningitis.

It is a devastating disease associated with high fatality of 50 percent when untreated.

Over 10 000 cases of meningitis occur annually in Nigeria.

In 2017, 14 766 cases were reported with 1 207 deaths occurred.

Anuradha Gupta, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, said the expansion in Nigeria's immunisation programme had the potential to save hundreds of lives every year.

"It shows the government's commitment to protecting every child in the country against deadly, preventable diseases," Gupta said.

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