It is time Nigeria did the needful to prevent future occurrences, and the country urgently requires detailed and robust experimental data in the: search of immunogen, development of conjugate vaccine, and investigating strains dynamics.
This was said, recently, by a researcher, Uzal Umar, who is also a lecturer in the Department of Microbiology, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, in an interview with press men.
He said that, the Cerebrospinal Meningitis was among the vaccine preventable diseases (VPD) adding that the fact that the country has lost over 400 people to the disease in this modern age was a sad reminder of how much needed to be done to make Nigeria a developed country.
He said, “It is heartening to note the reactive response of the government towards curtailing the spread of the infection. Reports have it that 500,000 doses of vaccine against Neisseria meningitidis Serogroup C (The strain causing the present meningitis outbreak) have been imported from India and Britain. Yes, this is a stop gap measure and may be successful in curtailing the spread of the germ and resulting death in the short run but what happens in the long run?”
The researcher said that in ideal situations, vaccine developed against a particular strain has recorded failures and vaccine deployment was required to cover a certain percentage of the population to be effective.
He noted that Nigeria needs a robust experimental data in the following areas:
- The search of immunogen that would elicit antibody that would provide protection against a broad serogroup/serotypes of the meningococci.
- The development of conjugate vaccine as is applied in pneumonia caused by Streptococcuspneumoniae.
- Investigating strains dynamics that may arise from the use of vaccines– this will require detailed molecular investigation and characterisation of invasive and noninvasive strains of N. meningitidis prevalent in Nigeria.
As he said, “this may serve as a template for understudying bacteria involved in epidemic outbreaks, as well as, putting science to work for us”.
With this (taken as a revelation), the citizenry must increase their awareness on ways by which government and government representatives will be made more responsible and sensitive to the needs of the populace.
 Ojoma Akor, How to tackle meningitis outbreak in Nigeria – Researcher, Daily Trust.