The sum of $1.1bn is required to purchase vaccine for immunisation of 22 million persons in five states ravaged by meningitis, an official of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHDA), Dr Emmanuel Odu has said.
Speaking when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Primary Healthcare and Communicable Diseases, chaired by Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, Odu said the amount is required to vaccinate people against meningitis in Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Niger and Kebbi states.
“The vaccination of 22 million in the five affected states will cost $1.1bn. The vaccine is expensive, scarce and it takes about a month to be imported into the country,” he said.
He said the country was in possession of 500,000 doses of the vaccine and that 823,000 are being expected.
He also said the country was working with an Indian firm to source for 2 million vaccines to fight meningitis in the country.
Also speaking, National Coordinator of the Centre for Disease Control, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu said the outbreak which started in second week of December in Zamfara State has spread to 16 states.
He also said a drop of the vaccine cost between $30 and $50.He said the centre is facing paucity of funds saying “The budget we have is like sending soldiers to the Northeast without guns. Our budget is completely insufficient to carry out the assignment before us.”
The committee has summoned Health Minister, Professor Isaac Adewole and requested for weekly update on meningitis from the agencies.