The number of people who have died from suspected cases of Cerebro Spinal Meningitis in Zamfara State has risen to 215. The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control had earlier on Tuesday said at least 336 have died from the disease across Nigeria.
Abdullahi Shinkafi, the Secretary to the Zamfara State Government, said the disease has claimed 215 lives in the last two months in the state. Mr. Shinkafi, who is also the Chairman of the state’s Committee for the Control of Meningitis, made the disclosure at a news briefing in Gusau on Tuesday.
He said that the committee was mobilising communities in the state, through the Local Government Meningitis Control Committee, to create more awareness on the disease. He said that additional 1,864 cases had been recorded in the state since the outbreak of the disease.
According to him, already 1,344 people have been trained as vaccinators and they have been divided into 224 groups of six people each.
He said that they would carry out vaccination throughout the state.
Mr. Shinkafi said that the state government, which required three million dosages of meningitis vaccines, only got 300,000 from the Federal Government.
“We have to carefully prioritise the vaccination.”
Mr. Shinkafi said that the vaccination would be concentrated on high density areas including key public institutions and schools to curtail further spread.
Earlier, the Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari, said the outbreak of Type C CSM is God’s way of showing his anger against Nigerians for turning their back on him.
Mr. Yari said this on Tuesday while speaking with journalists at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, shortly after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Nigeria Medical Association in Zamfara had last weekend accused the government of Mr. Yari of failing to prepare for the outbreak of the despite warnings, and not responding adequately to the epidemic.
Some residents, who also spoke to Premium Times over the weekend, accused the government of “neglect”.
Mr. Yari, however, said the outbreak might not be unconnected to the people’s total disregard of God’s commandments.
“What we used to know as far as meningitis is concerned is the Type A virus. The World Health Organisation, WHO, has carried out vaccinations against this Type A virus not just in Zamfara, but many other states.
“However, because people refused to stop their nefarious activities, God now decided to send Type C virus, which has no vaccination.
“People have turned away from God and he has promised that ‘if you do anyhow, you see anyhow’ that is just the cause of this outbreak as far as I am concerned.
“There is no way fornication will be so rampant and God will not send a disease that cannot be cured,” the governor said.
Dispelling insinuations that his government failed to act accordingly, Mr. Yari said he called an emergency meeting comprising of all top state and local government officials and traditional rulers, adding that “the meeting came out with a strategy to be adopted and the money required to deal with the outbreak and a lot of work is going on”.