Meningitis: What Nigerians Should Know

By Daniels Nwokike
It is yet another hot period in Nigeria and the Northern part of the country which is usually the worst hit with cases of Meningitis have been struck again with death toll rising daily since November 2016.


The South West and South South is also not left out in the outbreak as there have been reported cases in Lagos, Oyo and Rivers States.


Meningitis is a contagious disease that can be spread through sharing of toothbrush or cutlery, bodily fluids, coughing and sneezing, kissing, sharing a cigarette etc. It is a life-threatening medical emergency as its symptoms can develop rapidly.


In a research carried out by InterHealth Worldwide, Meningococcal disease is present in the semi-arid areas of sub-Saharan Africa which the World Health Organization (WHO) has named the African meningitis belt. Every year, epidemics of meningococcal meningitis re-occur during the hot, dry season between the months of December and June.


Since the outbreak of Meningitis in Nigeria, hundreds of casualties have been recorded and the recent outbreak has recorded a casualty figure of over 300 persons and rising.


However, the Nigerian government appears to be reactionary rather than being proactive in a case that has become a yearly occurrence. If measures were put in place, there would not have been the outrageous number of deaths in the 2017 outbreak; on the other hand, there should not have been an outbreak in the first place.


The Ministry of Health, other relevant health agencies as well as the Ministry of Information and Culture should rise to its duty of sensitizing the general public on the dangers Meningitis pose as lack of sensitization is one of the major factors that has led to the rising death toll.


Meningococcal disease can be prevented with the use of vaccines. The use of antibiotics is very effective in curing the disease. In addition to vaccinations, some common sense precautions should be followed to help prevent meningitis.


Wash hands after contact with someone who has meningitis and seek medical advice. Depending on the extent of exposure and the type of meningitis, one may be advised by a Doctor to take an antibiotic as a precaution.

Also develop a healthy life style, reduce the frequency of eating foods cooked in public eateries, avoid sharing tooth brushes and other items that comes in contact with body fluids . A stitch in time they say, saves nine.

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