Knowledge is power; ignorance is life threatening!

Few residents of Gada and Wauru towns of Gada Local Government Area in Sokoto State have come down with symptoms of meningitis.

But they refused to report the outbreak of the disease to appropriate authorities due to their traditional beliefs.

It had killed five persons before the government was notified.

They thought it was a strange or mysterious disease that had come upon them.

But tests carried out after cerebro spinal fluid samples were taken from the victims confirmed it was meningitis.

Meningitis is an acute inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, known collectively as the meninges. The most common symptoms are fever, headache and neck stiffness.

The state Commissioner of Health, Dr Balarabe Kakale, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Sokoto that efforts are being made to curtail the spread.

Brought Under Control

According to him, the government is at the moment taking steps to end traditional beliefs making people to delay reporting the outbreak of such diseases to nearest health facilities.

"We are also sensitising them on the need to ensure that they allow their children to be immunised against polio and other child killer diseases like tetanus, whooping cough, diphtheria and pertussis among others.

"They are also being sensitised on the need to ensure personal and environmental hygiene, as well as avoid sleeping in congested rooms," he said.

Three of the deaths were recorded at the Gada General Hospital, while two were recorded at the Wauru Primary Health Centre.

The commissioner explained that other cases of high fever and cerebral fever were identified, but reassured residents that the situation had been brought under total control.

"The situation had, however, subsided as only two persons were currently on admission at the Gada General Hospital and they were responding to treatment.

"The state government had since deployed a high powered medical team, including an epidemiologist who conducts case definition, identification and contacts tracing," he stated.

The state government has also mobilised adequate drugs and medicament to the local government for free treatment of the patient and has also embarked on massive sensitisation campaigns of the communities in the area.