*takes delivery of 823,000 units of vaccines from WHO weekend
By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA-Federal government on Wednesday said that it has contained the type C meningitis spreading in most northern states of the federation.
It also stated that 823,000 units of vaccines would arrive Nigeria at the weekend from the United Kingdom to help tackle the epidemic.
Briefing State House correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council, FEC meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Wednesday, the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire who was joined by his colleague from the Ministry of Environment, Ibrahim Jubril stated that so far, there had been 4,637 suspected cases of the disease.
Ehanire said the country had recorded 489 fatalities, adding that 207 have been confirmed in laboratory tests.
He said: “About 70 percent of the cases we have seen so far in Zamfara state and all the things are on ground there managing the situation.
“The Minister of Health was there yesterday and a meeting was held with traditional rulers, governors and commissioners of state to improve on the strategy for reaching out to the population and spreading the vaccination.
“As of now, I can say the epidemic is no more rising and we hope it will come down soon. By this weekend we are expecting 823,000 vaccines from the United Kingdom, approved by the World Health Organization, a special kind of vaccine called the conjugate vaccine which has a longer protection of about 10 years than the usual vaccines which we have been using before called the polysaccharide vaccines which gives protection for about 12 years.
“As of now, there have been 4,637 suspected cases of which we have had 489 fatalities and of these 207 have been confirmed in laboratory tests.
“The vaccination team will move to Sokoto in the next few days and start using the vaccines to control the situation over there.”
Also speaking, the Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jubril gave updates on the green bond project, saying that it was on course.
He said: “The green bond is on course. Last week we held a retreat with the advisory committee comprising of capital market operators, operating agencies, United Nations environment programme and the World Bank who is supporting this process.
“We said it is a sovereign green bond and that means it has to go through the national budget. We are working in active collaboration with the federal ministry of finance as well as the debt management office. A meeting is currently ongoing at the DMO in respect of the process.
“We have gotten Central Bank to open an account with the proceeds, but since it is sovereign the National Assembly will have to pass the budget first before we can do the launch and that is what is holding us.”
The minister the green bond projects would help finance the renewable energy of the country amongst others.
“There are three pipeline projects that will benefit from the green bond once established. The issuance of green bond will go a long way in assisting to finance the green budget such as renewable energy such as solar power and we looking at collaboration with the minister of power and housing. The second pipeline project has the minister of the FCT on board because we want to use the FCT as a laboratory and to have transport as part of our contribution to reducing emissions.
“We are thinking of about 100 buses that will be financed if and when the bond is launched and they will work in the FCT and we are thinking of the Kubwa Abuja corridor to assist in ferrying our passengers.
“In that way if we have vehicles that can carry unto 50 passengers at a time, that means we can remove between 5 to 40 vehicles from the road and that will go a long way to reduce emission and mitigating climate change”, he said.