A Nigerian public official has called on God to intervene over the outbreak of Cerebro Spinal Meningitis in the country stating that the country does not have enough vaccines to stop the spread of the disease.
The Chairman of the National Immunization Finance Task Team, Ben Anyene, said that Nigeria is in dire need of divine intervention to contain the disease which has claimed over 700 lives since its outbreak in November 2016.
Mr. Anyene said Nigeria is facing scarcity of vaccines due to lack of proper planning.
The Governor of Zamfara, Abdulaziz Yari, whose state is worst hit by the outbreak with close to 300 recorded deaths, had drawn widespread criticism about a forthnight ago when he attributed the epidemic to God’s anger over the sins of Nigerians, Premium Times reports.
While addressing journalists in Abuja, Mr.Anyene said that the country needs to build their system because vaccine is not a commodity on the shelf that can just be bought over the counter; rather it has to be pre-ordered and paid upfront in order to prepare for any outbreaks.
He accused Nigeria of not planning ahead by comparing the country to Britain.
“Britain does not have meningitis but because of planning, they have some stock but Nigeria does not have such.” He said according to Premium Times.
Premium Times reported how the Federal Government earlier claimed that it had acquired enough vaccines to combat the Type C strain of the epidemic currently ravaging the country.
A total of 500,000 doses of Meningitis C vaccines have been distributed to some of the affected states for immediate outbreak response vaccination, while additional 823,970 doses are being expected from the United Kingdom to support vaccination activities in other affected states, the report says.
Mr. Anyene however stated that when compared to the number of people who need to be vaccinated, it is obvious that there is a shortage and that there is real scarcity.
Earlier reports: Meningitis outbreak kills 269 people in Nigeria
An outbreak of meningitis in Nigeria has killed 269 people in recent weeks.
According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, 1,828 suspected cases of meningitis were reported in 15 of the country’s 36 states.
The centre said on its website that 33 people died of meningitis in 2016.
The current outbreak is the worst in Nigeria since 2009 when it killed hundreds.
The disease is spreading amidst fears it could be out of control if refugee camps, prisons and police cells become affected through crowds.
The Nigerian government says that the current outbreak was caused by a new strain and thereby requires a different type of vaccine.
Nigeria lies on the meningitis belt, stretching from the Sahel region to the Horn of Africa, where outbreaks occur regularly.
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Nigeria is struggling against an outbreak of a new strain of meningitis called stereotype C, whose vaccine is not readily available in the market