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Meningitis Outbreak: Health minister visits Zamfara

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… directs  medical centre to step up case finding mission

Prof. Isaac Adewole
Minister of Health

The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole,  visited troubled Zamfara State on Monday and promptly directed the management of the Federal Medical Centre, Gusau, to immediately activate a case finding mission in a bid to stem the current outbreak of cerebrospinal meningitis (CSM) in the state.

Zamfara state has recorded the highest number of  cases and death from CSM in the current outbreak.  According to the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the state, along with four others – Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto and Niger  states, account for about 95% of the cases reported in the country so far, put at 3,959 cases with 438 deaths, as at  April 5.

The Minister instructed the Guzau Medical Centre  to “set up a rapid response team and let them go and find cases,”

“This is not the time to wait for referrals before you treat. You should go out and search for the cases,”  he said.

He called on the facility to assist in strengthening the Primary Health Care system in the state in order to curtail the current meningitis outbreak and future occurrences.

The Minister recalled a picture (of a girl receiving treated on the floor in one of the state PHCs) that made the front page of a recent edition of a National Newspaper describing it as unacceptable.

“What I saw in The News Paper is unacceptable. They are human beings and not animals and we must treat them with dignity.”

He promised the hospital of the ministry’s support in ensuring that Zamfara people access care and halt unnecessary death in the state.

The Health Minister, who was accompanied by the Permanent Secretary Health, Mrs Binta Adamu Bello and a team of international development partners later visited some meningitis patients receiving treatment in the facility.

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