Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, Tuesday, said Nigeria needed $1 billion to vaccinate about 21 million persons in northern states susceptible to Cerebro-spinal Meningitis, CSM.

Speaking during an emergency meeting of Northern governors and Northern Traditional Leaders Committee on Primary Healthcare delivery in Kaduna, Professor Adewole said the amount involved was way out of what the country could afford and suggested the setting up of Epidemics Funds to address such challenges. His words: “The vaccine is scarce and very expensive.

If we are to vaccinate people in the affected states, we will need to vaccinate about 21 million people. That will cost us about $1 billion dollars. That is a huge amount of money. “If we want to vaccinate in local governments that are most affected, it will cost about $6.5 million. We must re-strategise. Part of the suggestion is to have an immunisation trust fund.”

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Yesterday’s meeting was attended by the governors of Sokoto, Zamfara and host state, Kaduna, as well as representatives of Sultan of Sokoto, Saad Abubabakar III, and emirs. In his remarks, Governor Nasir el-Rufai said his state, Kaduna, had so far recorded 17 suspected cases across the 11 local governments with one Type ‘C’ case and one death.

This is just as Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State directed local government chairmen to reintroduce the monthly security meetings and ensure attendance by all stakeholders at that level. He also directed all district heads to submit bi-weekly reports about the situation of their localities to the Sultanate Council for necessary action.