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Yobe Govt activates operations centre in Potiskum to contain CSM – Commissioner

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Yobe Govt activates operations centre in Potiskum to contain CSM – Commissioner

The Yobe Government has established a temporary Emergency Operations Centre in Potiskum town to contain cases of Cerebrospinal Meningitis, serogroup ‘C’.

Dr Muhammed Gana, the Commissioner for Health, made this known in interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Damaturu on Thursday.

He said that the state government also designated the Potiskum Specialist Hospital as tertiary site for the management of meningitis and vaccination of more than 400,000 people against the ‘serogroup ‘C’ of the disease in the area.

Other measures taken by the state government, he said, include engaging ad hoc personnel including a professor of infectious diseases to take care of the cases, embarking on aggressive community sensitisation as well as carrying out of daily review meetings with partners on the situation at hand.

He added that over 200 community health influencers, promoters, and supporters were working across Potiskum and Fika local government areas to contain the outbreak.

”Additionally,  78 active case search teams are going house-to-house to find cases and refer them to health facilities.

”WE are being supported by 130 teams from the World Health Organisation (WHO), over 1,000 volunteer community mobilizers from UNICEF, and 1,800 voluntary informants across the state.

“The aim is to basically identify cases, report to the local government areas and refer them to nearest health facilities,” the commissioner explained.

The outcome of all these interventions, he said, iis that the state is recording reduced number of deaths.

The commissioner said that the state recorded 2,510 cases from Dec. 25, 2023 to April 2024.

Gana added that 85 patients died from the disease on or before reaching healthcare facilities.

”Investigation showed that they were either reporting very late to healthcare facility or they didn’t report at all.

”In the last 24 hours, the state recorded 28 new cases of the disease and one death. In the last two weeks, we recorded two deaths from the meningitis,” he said.

VMT NEWS reports that the World Health Organisation (WHO) says meningococcal meningitis is a bacterial form of meningitis.

The world body said of the twelve types of Neisseria meningitidis, called serogroups, six (A, B, C, W, X, Y) can cause epidemics.

The bacteria it added can be carried in the nasopharyngeal tract without causing symptoms and are transmitted through droplets of respiratory or throat secretions upon close and prolonged contact.

The WHO added that meningococcal meningitis can kill in hours and if untreated, is fatal in 50 per cent  cases.

VMT NEWS reports that in a historic move, Nigeria became the first country in the world to roll out a new vaccine (called Men5CV) recommended by the WHO, which protects people against five strains of the meningococcus bacteria.

The vaccine and emergency vaccination activities are funded by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which funds the global meningitis vaccine stockpile, and supports lower-income countries with routine vaccination against meningitis.

Nigeria is one of the 26 meningitis hyper-endemic countries of Africa, situated in the area known as the African Meningitis Belt.

In Nigeria, an outbreak of Neisseria meningitidis (meningococcus) serogroup ‘C’ outbreak led to 1,742 suspected meningitis cases, including 101 confirmed cases and 153 deaths in seven of 36 Nigerian states (Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Jigawa, Katsina, Yobe, Zamfara) between Oct. 1, 2023 and March 11.

To quell the deadly outbreak, a vaccination campaign has been undertaken from March 25- March 28 to initially reach more than one million people aged one-29 years.

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