Nigerians have been warned to be on alert and take preventive measures against Cerebrospinal Meningitis, CSM, as this is the season of the deadly disease. The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, who gave the warning, said the federal government cannot afford to vaccinate every single citizen against the disease at the moment. According to Mr. Adewole, CSM, a seasonal disorder, is easy to diagnose but the protective vaccine is very expensive. “I cannot recommend that we should spend N1.65 trillion to purchase meningitis vaccine alone.
That’s almost like a third to quarter of our total budget. If we do that, then it means we have to abandon other things” Mr. Adewole said. “The conjugate vaccine can protect an individual for 10 years, while the polyvalent vaccine protects for three years, but for now both are expensive so our best bet is to alert Nigerians that this is the season for meningitis and they should beware. “We can only prioritise by using case detection to look at states that have the highest cases of meningitis and face them rather than focusing on vaccinating the entire country. “If we say let’s face meningitis alone you should consider that we need to vaccinate against measles, against yellow fever and other diseases,” the minister noted. He said the ultimate aim is to vaccinate the whole Nigeria over the next five years but it has to be done in phases based on priority and also based on the availability of the vaccine. Mr. Adewole further advised Nigerians to avoid overcrowded places, live and sleep in a well ventilated environment, drink and eat well and always report or go for test when symptoms of strange fever is noticed. He said the health ministry is working with state governments to identify areas that are at risk and strengthen the healthcare system over there. CSM is a disease caused by a germ called Nesseria meningitidis which usually causes inflammation of the lining of the brain and the spinal cord. The disease often occurs in epidemic proportion around November to May of the following year when the rainy season starts. Health Minister, Isaac Adewole When CSM epidemic occurs, many people are usually affected at the same time. It can be very serious among persons aged 1 to 30 years. Occasionally it affects older people.