The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on Wednesday launched campaign against Cerebrospinal meningitis (CSM).
The NEMA Director-General, Mustapha Maihaja represented by the Head of NEMA, Abuja Operations, Mr Bitrus Samuel said at the launch in Abuja that the agency had the mandate to respond to strategic disasters in Nigeria.
Observing that CSM epidemics was common in sub-Saharan Africa, he added that the epidemic was more intense during the dry season, pointing out that 2017 recorded the highest suspected cases with 8,057 as at April 2017.
According to him, the objective of the conference is to alert the public on the preventive method and response of CSM cases to reduce the spread.
“The conference was organised to get expert advice, on the symptoms, preventive measures, control and management. To get information about the preparedness and response plan of all the main public health response agencies based on lessons learned from the 2017 outbreak.” he said.
The Senior Public Health Specialist, U.S Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr Muhammad Saleh said that priority diseases like CSM were monitored on yearly basis and the centre provide preventive measures to them.
He said that 26 states in North-West, North-East and North-Central fell within the meningitis belt.
“One of the key preventive measures is health education, to educate the public about the signs and symptoms of meningitis, so that when they see it, they can seek for medical help immediately.
“The common symptoms are fever, neck pain, neck stiffness and general body pain. For toddlers, we have inability to eat or take breast milk but the common thing to look out for is the neck stiffness, which is the key symptom for meningitis.” he said.
Observing that there should be general and personal hygiene, washing of hand before and after using the toilet as well as environmental sanitation, Saleh said the disease could easily spread in a crowded environment, noting that proper ventilation was key in the prevention of CSM.
Head Disaster Risk Reduction, FCT FEMA, Ms Florence Wenegieme said the conference was to prepare for possible outbreak of the disease, adding that the preparedness and response plan would not be successful without the stakeholders, especially those in the health sector.
Wenegieme, however, said that the preventive and response plan would go a long way in reducing the outbreak of the disease.