The death toll from the Cerebro Spinal Meningitis, CSM, outbreak across several states has increased to 336, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has said.
Several states, mainly in northern Nigeria, have been affected by the disease as officials struggle to secure enough vaccines to prevent it.
“As at April 3, 2017, a total of 2,997 suspected cases of CSM have been reported in 16 States in Nigeria, of which 146 have been laboratory-confirmed. Unfortunately, 336 deaths have also been recorded,” Lawal Bakare, a spokesperson of the NCDC said in a statement on Tuesday.
Mr. Bakare said the NCDC has, in collaboration with other stakeholders, activated an Emergency Operations Centre, EOC, to manage the current outbreak.
This brings the national response into an Incidence Management System, IMS, to ensure that all activities across the country will be managed using a clear command and control structure, he said.
The spokesperson said that with this new coordinating structure, the country will have a tight, multi-partner team of experts pulled from the most competent agencies focusing on outbreak control in Nigeria.
He said that the head of emergency preparedness and response at the NCDC, John Oladejo, would act as the Incident Manager of the response team.
Mr. Bakare noted that the Incident Manager would report through the Chief Executive Officer of the NCDC to the Minister of Health.
He added that with the new team structure, all CSM outbreak response activities would now be coordinated in one place.
He said that a total of 500,000 doses of Meningitis `C’ vaccines have been distributed to some of the affected states for immediate outbreak response vaccination.
The manager added that an additional 823,970 doses of Meningitis `C’ vaccines were being expected from the United Kingdom to support vaccination activities in other affected states.
He explained that the EOC will support state-wide vaccination campaign which starts in Zamfara on April 5.
He added that the team would also deploy and coordinate a robust national communication and social mobilisation campaign, focused on CSM prevention and control in rural and urban areas of affected states.
“We are confident that we have turned the tide, and with increasing vaccination activities, expect a reduction in number of cases.
“Importantly, lessons learned from this outbreak will help the country prepare for the future,” he said.
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