29 September 2021 | Abuja – Nigeria Joins Global Community in Commitment to Defeat Meningitis by 2030
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) joins the global community to welcome the launch of the global roadmap to defeat meningitis by 2030. The launch of the roadmap by the World Health Organization (WHO) on the 28th of September 2021 illustrates significant commitment towards meningitis control. This is especially critical for Nigeria as meningitis remains a major public health challenge.
The global road map sets out a plan to tackle the main causes of acute bacterial meningitis through three strategic goals: (i) eliminate epidemics of bacterial meningitis; (ii) reduce cases of vaccine preventable bacterial meningitis by 50% and deaths by 70%; (iii) reduce disability and improve quality of life after meningitis of any cause.
Although Nigeria has implemented interventions including the introduction of the Meningitis A Conjugate vaccine in the routine immunisation schedule, the country records annual large outbreaks of meningitis.
Since the 2016/2017 meningitis outbreak in Nigeria that led to over 1,160 deaths, NCDC has continued to work closely with states within the meningitis belt. With support from WHO and partners, our support is towards strengthening preparedness, detection and response to meningitis.
Some of the interventions led by NCDC include the training of clinicians on case management of meningitis and lumbar puncture to increase the rate of confirmation of cases. Additionally, NCDC has coordinated the establishment and operationalisation of a network of laboratories with the capacity to confirm cerebrospinal meningitis. To enable this, NCDC continues to support human resource training, provision of medical and laboratory supplies, development and dissemination of disease guidelines among other activities.
In 2021, NCDC began a pilot study in collaboration with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), World Health Organisation and University College London. This is to develop approaches that can increase diagnostic yield of confirmed meningitis and enable early detection of outbreaks. Given Nigeria’s experience with annual outbreaks of meningitis, we remain committed to contributing to global research and development.
The successful implementation of the global strategy to defeat meningitis will depend on strong political commitment and a whole-of-society approach at the country, regional and global level. As the agency with the mandate to lead the prevention, detection and control to disease outbreaks, NCDC remains committed to working with states, WHO and other partners in implementing the roadmap to defeat meningitis by 2030 in Nigeria and globally. This is in close coordination with the Federal Ministry of Health, National Primary Health Care Development Agency and other government institutions.
Cerebrospinal Meningitis (CSM) is a priority epidemic-prone disease with cases reported all year round in Nigeria. The highest burden occurs in the part of sub-Saharan Africa known as the “Meningitis Belt”. In Nigeria, the belt covers all the 19 northern states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). We continue to urge the public to be aware of the danger posed by meningitis and adhere to the known preventive measures.
In Nigeria, cerebrospinal meningitis is recorded all year round, the disease has predilection for dry season with peak between January and May. It is characterised by acute severe infection of the central nervous system causing inflammation of the meninges with associated morbidity and mortality. The most common symptoms and signs are fever, headache, nausea and vomiting, photophobia (sensitivity to light), neck stiffness and altered consciousness, confusion or difficulty concentrating, seizures, sleepiness or difficulty waking. Infants may experience irritability, meningism, neck stiffness, bulging fontanelle, excess sleepiness, fast breathing, fast heart rate, poor feeding, sluggishness. Transmission is through direct person-to-person contact, including droplets from the nose and throat of infected persons. Transmission is facilitated by close and prolonged contact (such as sneezing and coughing), smoking, overcrowding, while certain climatic conditions like dry season, where winds, cold nights, and associated upper respiratory tract infections combine to damage the lining of the nasopharynx.
About the NCDC
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control is the country’s national public health institute, with the mandate to lead the preparedness, detection and response to infectious disease outbreaks and public health emergencies. The Bill for an Act to establish NCDC was signed into law in November 2018, by President Muhammadu Buhari. The mission for the NCDC (2017-2021) is ‘To protect the health of Nigerians through evidence-based prevention, integrated disease surveillance and response activities, using a One Health approach, guided by research and led by a skilled workforce’.
NCDC Toll-free Number: 6232 | SMS: 08099555577 | WhatsApp: 07087110839 Twitter: @NCDCGov | Facebook: @NCDCgov | Instagram: @NCDCgov |
Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu
DG, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control