The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) reveals that Cerebrospinal Meningitis (CSM) claimed the lives of 190 individuals across Nigeria in 2023. Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, the Director-General of the NCDC, provided the statistics, indicating that the country reported 2,765 suspected and 303 confirmed cases of meningitis, with fatalities occurring in 140 local government areas across 30 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
Dr. Adetifa highlighted that the highest burden of CSM in Nigeria is concentrated in the “Meningitis Belt,” covering the 19 northern states, the FCT, and certain southern states. Despite progress in vaccination efforts, CSM remains a persistent public health threat, with annual outbreaks in high-burden states posing challenges to people, health systems, economies, and communities.
He said, “The NCDC in collaboration with ministries, departments, agencies, and partners through the CSM TWG, had implemented several measures to ensure enhanced coordination, collaboration, and communication for response across the country.”
“At the beginning of the season, all state governments and public health authorities were alerted to the heightened risk of a CSM outbreak and the need for resource mobilisation for preparedness and response activities. Routine meetings of the national multi-sectoral CSM TWG (were held) to coordinate prevention and preparedness activities,” he added.
He concluded, “Regular communication (were held) with high-burden states to ascertain status, progress, and challenges.”
Meningitis, characterised by inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord, continues to be a public health concern in Nigeria.