Meningitis High cost preventing Nigerians from accessing vaccine

The Federal Government’s efforts to check the further spread of the Cerebro-Spinal Meningitis in the country may be marred by high cost of dispensing the vaccine in public and private health institutions.
Nigerians who are eager to protect themselves against the deadly disease have said that the cost of procuring the vaccine is prohibitive.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the recent outbreak of the disease, especially in the northern parts of the country has claimed over 813 lives.
A check by NAN in some of the public and private institutions shows that where the vaccine is available, it is administered on those who craved for it at a cost between N11,300 and N13,000.
The health facilities visited include Akerele Primary Health Centre, EKO Hospital, Havana Hospital, Maternal and Childcare Centre (MCC) and Randle General Hospital, all in Surulere.
Others are the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Ebute-Meta, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba and Gbagada General Hospital, Gbagada.
At the EKO and Havana Hospitals, two major private hospitals in Surulere, the vaccine was available at the cost of between N11,500 and N13,000 respectively.
In some government-owned hospital in the economic capital of the nation, it costs between N2,500 and N7,150.
A patient at the Havana Hospital, Mrs Uche Ifeajuna, said that the vaccine was a necessity to prevent meningitis, especially for those who frequently travelled to the northern part of the country.
She said: “I had to pay the N13,000 to be protected from the disease; however, this is because I can afford it.
“But, what happens to those at grassroots who cannot afford private hospitals and they need to get the vaccine?
“It is the government’s responsibility to ensure that it provides the vaccine.
“The vaccine should be made available and accessible, especially at the Primary Health Centres (PHCs),’’ she said.
At the Federal Medical Center, Ebute-Meta, the vaccine was readily available for those who wanted to take preventive measures against meningitis at a cost of N2, 500 for a shot.
During the visit to the facility, the majority of patients waiting to take the shot were members of the National Youth Service Corps programme posted to northern part of Nigeria.
A healthcare worker told NAN that a vial of the vaccine was usually administered to a batch of 10 people.

Release Date: 
Wednesday, May 24, 2017