By; MATTHEW UKACHUNWA, Lagos
Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has called on stakeholders to join it in raising awareness on Meningitis in Nigeria.
“This disease remains a major public health challenge affecting countries in the African Meningitis belt where Nigeria falls.
“15 states are currently affected in Nigeria,” NCDC highlighted.
The Centre made the plea in commemoration of 2019 World Meningitis Day.
Globally, World Meningitis Day is observed on the 24th of April every year to raise awareness about this dreadful but preventable disease. Theme of this year’s is: Life After Meningitis.
“This year the NCDC seeks to increase awareness on the signs, symptoms and the devastating after-effects that it can have, the extreme importance of early diagnosis and treatment, and the crucial need to support Meningitis survivors and their families,” the Centre said.
According to it, globally, Meningitis affects about 2.8 million people each year.
Meningitis cases have been found to occur through the year in Nigeria with an observed increase during the dry season, NCDC stressed.
“The disease,” it warned, “is highly contagious and can kill within 24 hours, so recognizing the symptoms early and acting fast is crucial.
“Meningitis can affect anyone, however, infants, young children and adolescents and other people are at greatest risk, with major risk factors being overcrowding and poor ventilation.”
NCDC, therefore, called on leaders, communities, policy makers and individuals to spread the message as a social responsibility.
“We all have a collective responsibility to address this public health challenge,” NCDC Director-General, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, charged.
Meningitis is the inflammation of the membranes known as meninges that protect the brain and spinal cord from infection and direct physical injury.
Those surviving meningococcal Meningitis will suffer from complications, including mental disorders, deafness, palsies or seizures; or disabilities such as damage to the nervous system, learning difficulties, loss of sight, limb or organ damage, NCDC stated.