At least 215 people mostly children have died and over 1,600 infected as cerebrospinal meningitis hit Zamfara hard, the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Abdullahi Muhammad Shinkafi, has said.
Shinkafi, who is also the Chairman of the State monitoring Committee on Prevention, Control and Sensitization on Meningitis, spoke yesterday while briefing newsmen on the epidemic.
He said however that measures had been taken to stop the spread, including the setting up of monitoring and control committees in each local government area and the dispensing of drugs to those infected.
Some residents who spoke to Daily Trust narrated how they lost their loved ones to the epidemic within short periods.
After a visit to Rawayya village in Bungudu LGA where at least 10 people, mostly children, were reported dead within some weeks, our reporter found some patients receiving treatment at the village Primary Health Centre.
The Officer-In-Charge of the clinic Mallam Lurwanu Bello Rawayya said they had received 17 cases within two weeks although no death was recorded in the dispensary.
He said the patients included those brought from the nearvillages, adding that most of those residing in the very remote areas were initially not aware of the type of illness that had befallen them, therefore resorting to the traditional or orthodox type of treatment with resultant deaths.
A resident simply identified as Kabir, who lost his daughter within 15 minutes of her complaint of serious headache, stiff neck and high feverish condition, said “She was asleep when she woke up demanding for cold water. She took the water and then came down from the bed, saying she preferred to sleep on a bare floor. She then started gasping and experiencing breathing difficulty and she gave up the ghost within 15 minutes.”
Another resident, Abdulkadir Yahaya, said he lost his sister two weeks ago after she spent about eight days receiving treatment. “I can confirm to you that over 10 people mostly children were confirmed dead in this community even though the number of deaths has significantly reduced in recent times,” he said, adding,
“We went to the cemetery to bury a daughter of my neighbour and shortly after we came back another child died and we had to go for his burial again. The situation is a very pathetic one as no one knows what the future holds.”
The epidemic, Daily Trust has learnt, hit Tsangaya schools especially within Gusau metropolis. At an almajiri school belonging to one Mallam Mahe in Mayana area in Gusau, the state capital, one boy died last week and seven others infected.
Even though other disciples at the school survived the epidemic, there are also reported cases of deaths in such schools in Magami town and some villages in Bungudu LGA.
Despite the enlightenment campaign for the residents to sleep in well ventilated rooms and take measures on personal hygiene, the rooms in which the disciples sleep have no floors and are covered with dust and sands.
Katsina death toll reaches 41
In Katsina State, the death toll has risen to 41 as at Monday, as many patients were being diagnosed daily since its reported outbreak two weeks ago.
A member of the state Emergency Operation Center (EOC) who spoke in confidence, said the outbreak had spread to 13 local government areas of the state.
According to him, members of the center were hurriedly summoned to an emergency meeting on Monday to review the alarming number and come up with quick intervention.
Our reporter also gathered that some selected health personnel are currently being trained on how to handle the situation especially on prevention methods due to non-availability of the vaccines in the state.
The state Executive Secretary, Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Maawuya Aliu, said yesterday he was not available and asked our reporter to come today.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health Dr. Dr Kabir Mustapha had earlier said government was working round the clock to raise funds to secure the vaccines from pfizer.
Borno moves to secure IDP camps
In a related development, the Borno State Government has announced a set of measures to secure the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the camps in the state and along the border with Niger Republic against the scourge of meningitis.
The State Commissioner of Health, Dr. Haruna Mshelia, who announced to newsmen in Maiduguri yesterday that there was no reported case of the epidemic in the state so far, listed the measures as including mounting of surveillance along the border to cater for the IDPs moving in and out of the country.
Dr. Mshelia said various healthcare and immunization-related technical groups had been reactivated while relevant agencies and organizations had been identified with the aim of pooling their efforts towards ensuring the security of the IDPs.
Credit: Daily Trust