World Bulletin / News Desk
A compound built by Niger on the outskirts of capital Niamey in anticipation of a possible Ebola outbreak will be used to deal with another disease – meningitis.
In the Lazaretto compound, workers have rolled up their sleeves to expand the site's wards, while doctors have been relentlessly attending to dozens of patients who have come in for treatment.
"We expect to receive more patients; that is why we are carrying out expansions," Emmanuel Massart, unit coordinator with the meningitis response program of the Belgian branch of French-based NGO Doctors Without Borders, told.
The Lazaretto site was originally intended to accommodate possible cases of Ebola. It has now been reassigned, however, to receive people affected by a meningitis outbreak that began in December.
According to Massart, the complex currently contains 200 beds out of an estimated 350 that are needed.
The need to expand the facility is highlighted by the number of patients lying on the floor on plastic mats in the center's yards.
"Since the epidemic began, about 594 people have been received by the facility," Issoufou Djibo, a health official in Niamey's District 3, told.
As of April 23, 48 deaths had been recorded in the Lazaretto center, 281 had been discharged, and 165 were still receiving care, he said.
Meanwhile, a vaccination campaign is currently underway at primary schools.
At a Thursday press conference, Nigerien Health Minister Mano Aghali said that children were being targeted in a nationwide vaccination campaign but that available doses of the vaccine were "not sufficient to vaccinate all categories."
The minister noted that, as of April 23, meningitis had caused 129 deaths out of 1,150 cases recorded since December of last year.
The government also decided to close all schools in Niamey for the past week to "avoid contagion."Last Mod: 27 Nisan 2015, 16:51