By Aaron Ossai
Former Vice President and chieftain of All Progressives Congress, Atiku Abubakar, has expressed concern over the high death toll so far recorded this year following the outbreak of Cerebra Spinal Meningitis in some parts of the country.
In a message issued by his media office in Abuja, Abubakar called for concerted efforts to forestall further spread of the disease and attendant deaths describing as worrisome the death toll, which currently stands at 366.
“I understand that the heat-induced illness which causes the swelling of the outer part of the brain has also affected 2,996 cases in 16 states and 54 local government areas, and for me it implies a lot of effort is required to stop these deaths”, he stated.
Speaking further, Abubakar called on the international community, including donor agencies, to come to Nigeria’s aid on the grounds that “it is an emergency situation”.
He also called on relevant agencies of government to take precautionary measures since meningitis is “an annual ritual” by making sure that preventive measures are in place in states that are prone to the health challenge.
Furthermore, he called for “serious inter-agency collaboration” involving the Ministries of Health, Housing, Environment, Information as well as metrological agency, Nigeria Primary Health Care Development Agency and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control that would lead to the development of a “comprehensive preventive and treatment master plan” that would ensure that the carnage recorded in 2017 is avoided in subsequent years.
The Turakin Adamawa also called for sustained research on the ailment to identify new strains of the microorganism that causes the disease in order to avoid the new challenges being experienced in treating victims of the outbreak of meningitis this year.
Atiku called for appropriate budgetary allocations by Local, State and Federal Governments to ensure the availability of funds for the early procurement of vaccines and other items needed for quick medical response when there is an outbreak.