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Reports have it that over 100 cases of cerebrospinal meningitis has been reported in Sokoto and five deaths have been recorded.Also at least 80 people have lost their lives to cerebrospinal cord meningitis in Zamfara State in the last two months, the state Commissioner for Health, Alhaji Suleiman Gummi has said. 

Meningitis had earlier killed at least three students in a Secondary School in Maradun Local Government Area of the state.
The Zamfara State government has dispatched a team of medical personnel to the affected areas and are counseling residents on the preventive measures.
Alhaji Suleiman Gummi said the disease which attacked 10 out of the 14 local government areas of the state also affected 500 others who were currently receiving treatment at various health facilities. 
He said the state government had since set up special camps and had deployed medicine and health personnel to contain the situation, adding that the state government had reported the matter to the federal government and more medical support were being expected. 
Severe heats occasioned intense solar radiation and living in congested apartments are parts of what medical experts believe are causing meningitis. 
An official in the Yarima Bakura Specialist Hospital who craved  anonymity said they are receive cases of meningitis from parts of the state almost on daily basis. 
“We did a programme on it to sensitize the residents on the effect of sleeping in a poorly ventilated rooms especially this time around that hot season has properly set in,” he added. 
According to the Director Medical Services in the Sokoto State Ministry of Health, Dr. Abdullahi Jabo, meningitis  is an inflammation of the  membrane that covers the brain and the spinal cord. 
“In this part of  the country  which falls under the Sahel zone between November to March, it is the period that we usually see an increase  in the number of people affected this bacteria.”
 Jabo revealed: “By the end of week 10, we had a total of 104 reported cases  in our health facilities across the  state, and out of this, we recorded five mortalities.” 
Jabo  however, said  over 70 per cent of these patients had been treated in the health facilities and discharged. 
The medical expert explained, “Meningitis is of three types,viral,bacterial and fungi. Viral is the commonest but usually, it is self-limiting. Bacterial meningitis is more severe and deadly. If not promptly treated, it will end up  with a lot of complications in the person affected, such as hearing  loss, problem of walking, damage to kidney and ultimately can  lead to death. The fungal variety of meningitis is only seen in  particular group of patients who have very low immunity.”
He underscored the importance of personal and environmental hygiene.
“It all boils down to personal hygiene, that is why the government is  always enlightening people about environmental sanitation and personal  hygiene to curtail the proliferation of the organisms that cause this  deadly disease. It is very important we observe environmental  sanitation, clean our environment because this organism do proliferate during this season.”
He stressed that people should  pay attention to hygiene-washing  of hands, cover their nose when sneezing or coughing. Then ensure well- ventilated rooms  and avoid crowd, once these are  observed, it would reduce the spread of this contagious infection.
Confirming the situation, Permanent Secretary, Sokoto State  Ministry of Health, Almustapha Othman said the commonly recorded diseases as at today in the state were mainly  two cerebrospinal meningitis and the measles.
“We are fully prepared for it as a ministry. We are aware of differences in diseases associated with each season and before any season  sets in, we ensure we make adequate preparation on how to tackle  associated diseases. First of all, we want to prevent the diseases, that is  the focus  of the ministry, we don’t want the diseases to occur, but even if they occur naturally, then we are also on the alert, prepared to manage the  diseases,” he stated.
The Permanent Secretary said  the ministry procured a lot of drugs worth millions of naira  saying they were stocked  at the medical store and also distributed to all the General Hospitals and primary health centres across the 23 local government areas of the state. 
He pointed out that the most important thing is to notify the  authority once the disease sets in. 
He said: “We have Diseases Surveillance/Notification Officers in each of the LGA 
and  the state government has recently procured brand new   motorcycles for use the Diseases Notification Officers, so that they  can go to nooks and crannies of each of the local government; one, to  sensitize people on the need to prevent the diseases ,two, in case  there is any disease, they notify the authority and refer the patients to hospitals for appropriate management.”
 He added that brand new  hilux were also bought to  move into any  LGAs and provide necessary  intervention  where there are diseases outbreaks.
Almustapha Othman said they were intensifying collaboration with development partners as well as employing  community dialogue as a strategy for sensitising the general public on the importance of health care. 

Source: Daily Trust

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