Wednesday, 19 April 2017 14:01

Amid worst meningitis outbreak in decades, thousands vaccines go missing in Zamfara state

As the Cerebro Spinal Meningitis (CSM) outbreak in Zamfara exploded, thousands vaccines have disappeared in the state.

 

The vaccines meant for over 1,000 victims in the state, and for preventing many more has been reportedly stolen by state government officials and are being resold to helpless residents. No fewer than 3 local government chairmen on Tuesday complained that vaccines for their area has been diverted. 

And while the disease spilled across the state, a senior outbreak expert at the World Health Organization acknowledged the governor's response had "lagged" for months.

Much like Yari's fumbled response to security issues in the state, the governor's efforts to stop the spread of the disease have been undermined by chronic mismanagement, according to officials of the state due to his absence in the state.

Some health officials now estimate they will be short about 500,000 vaccines amid the worst meningitis outbreak in decades.

From Zamfara, the disease has since spread to other parts of the north including Abuja, with a total of 5,000 suspect cases and more than 700 deaths. The potential for the outbreak to be exported elsewhere remains high, since the disease is spreading largely unchecked in Zamfara state.

"We could have prevented this from happening," said Ibrahim Usman, a local government staff, "but we have a governor who spends only two days in the state every week, he is either in America, Europe or in his Abuja home".

In an emailed statement Wednesday, a group 'Healthy Living' based in Kaduna said the missing doses of vaccines were "not unexpected" in such a mass vaccination campaign.

As the disease tore through the state, officials made a series of avoidable mistakes that stalled control efforts, including sending vaccines without syringes, Per Second News learnt.

Governor Abdulaziz Yari last week attributed the current outbreak of meningitis in the country to retributive justice from God.

The governor said the current outbreak of Type C Cerebrospinal Meningitis is God’s way of punishing Nigerians for their immoral conduct.

 

Last modified on Monday, 24 April 2017 15:15

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