The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that Nigeria has received 500,000 doses of meningitis C containing vaccine to combat the epidemic in the country.
This disclosure was made by the WHO Country Representative to Nigeria, Dr Wondimagegnehu Alemu, in a statement in Abuja on Friday.
The doses were sent by the International Coordinating Group (ICG) on Vaccine Provision, an organisation that coordinates the provision of vaccine during outbreak emergencies.
He said the vaccines, funded by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, have been administered in Zamfara and Katsina States where the disease was most endemic.
Alemu said an additional 820,000 doses of the meningitis C conjugate vaccine donated by the UK government to WHO was currently being sent to Nigeria.
He said, last week, the ICG also sent 341,000 doses of the meningitis C-containing vaccine to Niger Republic.
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He said this was because over 1,300 suspected cases of the disease had been found in the region particularly in districts that border with Nigeria and in the Niamey region of the country.
“A vaccination campaign is underway in Nigeria to contain an outbreak of meningitis C, a strain of meningitis which first emerged in the country in 2013.
“In 2013, the outbreak was initially limited to a few areas in Kebbi and Sokoto States. However, in 2015, more than 2,500 cases of the disease have been reported across 3 states in the country.
“Since the beginning of this year, the country has reported 4,637 suspected cases and 489 deaths across five states.
“WHO’s Country Office in Nigeria, including a number of field offices, have been supporting the government since the meningitis outbreak began.
“In addition to improving the care of the sick, we are focusing on ensuring accurate information about the spread of the outbreak is available as quickly as possible to help us make the most effective use of vaccines,” Alemu said.