April 19, 2024

Sokoto strange disease spreads to Kaduna as death toll hits 7

Sokoto farmers
By Chioma Obinna

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, NCDC, has confirmed the spread of the Sokoto and Zamfara strange disease to Kaduna with a total of 7 deaths.

To this end, the Centre which expressed worry that the disease may spread to other neighbouring communities has convened a high-level meeting with commissioners of health from the affected states.

The Director-General of the NCDC, Dr Jide Idris who disclosed this said a total of 196 suspected cases have been reported across Isa, Sabon Birni, and Ilella Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Sokoto State since the outbreak surfaced on March 21, 2024.

Idris who stated that he had an emergency meeting with Commissioners for Health from Sokoto and Kaduna States, and also a phone conversation with the Zamfara’s State Commissioner for Health, Hajiya Asabe Balarabe, Dr. Aisha Anka and Hajiya Umma Ahmed, explained that the meeting was to access the situation.

He explained that the meeting started with a visit to the Sokoto Public Health Emergency Operations Centre, where updates on response activities, ranging from case management, surveillance, risk communication and community engagement (RCCE) were presented.

“Furthermore, challenges around limited diagnostic capacity in the state and the continued spread of the illness to neighbouring localities, including Zamfara State were raised.

“Among those present were representatives from the Sokoto State Ministry of Health, Sokoto State Primary Health Care Development Agency, and partner organisations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), eHealth Africa, Solina Centre for International Development and Research (SCIDaR), and Breakthrough Action Nigeria (BA-N).

Idris who emphasised the urgency of the situation while acknowledging the collaborative efforts of all stakeholders and expressing concern over the lack of a definitive diagnosis said: “We are working with our sister agencies at the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) to ascertain the correct diagnosis of the illness.”

“We have been assured that the result will be available tomorrow, and once we get it, information will be shared with the public,” he affirmed.

Idris said they also visited treatment facilities, witnessing firsthand the recovery of patients from the unknown illness.

He said the direct observation provided valuable insight into the effectiveness of ongoing treatment protocols and the resilience of affected individuals.

Beyond the technical aspects of the response, Idris also engaged with traditional leaders, including a visit to the Sultan of Sokoto, who was briefed on the mission’s objectives.

Responding, the Sultan commended the NCDC’s efforts, pledging support from the people of Sokoto in combating the outbreak.

The NCDC reemphasised the importance of continued vigilance and cooperation from all stakeholders to identify the illness, implement effective containment measures, and prevent further outbreaks.

Public awareness campaigns and adherence to recommended safety protocols are also vital in mitigating the spread of the disease.

He said the collaborative efforts between government agencies, healthcare providers, and international partners signify a unified commitment of the Federal government through the NCDC to safeguarding health in Sokoto State and beyond.

Vanguard News

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