The district head of Kannu village in Birni Magaji L.G.A, Abdullahi Usman, which recorded the first case of Cerebro-Spinal Meningitis (CSM) in Zamfara state, has urged the Federal Government to provide immediate medical intervention to Primary Healthcare facilities to help curb the spread of epidemic diseases.
He said the unavailability and easy access of vaccines and drugs contributed to the spread of the recent CSM outbreak in the state later resulting into 14,518 deaths in 25 states of Federation.
He made this call during a tour visit by Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) to Zamfara state to evaluate the impact of the recent CSM outbreak.
While narrating his experience, Usman said “after the health facilities discovered the strange sickness was deadly and contagious, I informed the emirate after which they informed the LGA, and then they immediately sent drugs and vaccines. I think the unavailability and easy access of vaccines and drugs contributed to the spread of the disease.”
He futher urged the Federal Government to provide better health facilities for rural areas so as to combat future outbreak of any deadly disease.
Tukur Ahmad, officer in-charge of Primary Health Care Gora, Birni Magaji L.G.A said the first case reported in the state was December 14th, 2016, with symptoms of severe headache, stiffness of the neck, abdominal pain, among others.
“We got 4 cases of CSM reported to the facility on the 14th December 2016 and were treating malaria since we didn’t know what it was by then. When the disease started spreading, we reported the symptoms to the Disease surveillance and notification officer (DSNO).
“He later invited the state team, and then they took samples to town and later informed us it was CSM.” He said.
Speaking on the challenges, Usman said majorly, people could not afford to buy and easily access the drugs and vaccines at first until the LGA and state sent medical intervention.
He further called on the Federal Government to provide clean water, good latrines and employ more staff for primary health care facilities to improve the health condition of rural areas.
Mohammadu Lawal, father of the first 2 children with CSM cases in the state, described his experience to be ‘scary and confusing ‘, adding that the symptoms were strange to him and his family.
“My first son complained of headache in the morning and minutes later the second complained of the same headache. We bought ‘cafenol’ drug and gave them, but later in the day, they both complained of abdominal pain which later escalated to unconsciousness.
“I was confused and scared, and then I rushed them to the hospital where they were given intravenous fluid (IVF) and drugs. I had no money then but my brothers had to contribute to assist me pay for medication. They recovered after 2 weeks. And am happy to inform you that my children have fully recovered and are doing just fine and one is in school as we speak.” He said
He furthermore applauded the state and NGOs for providing medical intervention which helped to curb the outbreak of the disease.