The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, has urged Nigerians to avoid self-medication as part of measures to tame the current meningitis epidemic in parts of Nigeria.

The Sultan said this in a statement signed by the Emir of Argungu, in Kebbi State, Alhaji Samaila Mera, and issued to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)in Sokoto on Tuesday.

“In the interim, because of the dynamic nature of the outbreak, the Sultan is calling on parents and caregivers to ensure that their wards sleep in clean, well ventilated abodes and avoid overcrowding.

“They should also report all suspected cases immediately to the nearest health facility.

“The Sultan is also calling on all traditional and religious leaders to support all measures taken or recommended to be taken by the government and health officials.

“They should also enhance surveillance for cases in their areas of administration and report any suspected case to the nearest health outpost,” the statement read in part.

The statement further urged residents to support government officials working in any capacity, to bring an end to the outbreak.

It also urged the general public to pray to God for the speedy interruption and eradication of the disease from the country.

The statement commended the efforts of governments at all levels and international partner organisations to stop the outbreak.

Meanwhile, the Sultan has, sequel to the outbreak of meningitis and the resultant deaths, planned a meeting on April 11, to brainstorm on the unfortunate development.

“The Sultan has called for a joint meeting of the Northern Traditional Leaders Committee on Primary Healthcare and the relevant agencies of the Federal Ministry of Health.

“This is with the view to establishing modalities for collaboration at all levels, to fast track the efforts of government to control the epidemic.

“The Minister of Health has accepted the Sultan’s suggestion and recommended Tuesday, April 11, 2017, for the meeting,” it added.

In a related development, most of the isolation camps hitherto opened by the state government and the 23 local government councils in the wake up of the declaration of state of high alert on the disease, have been closed up.

A visit to one of such camps at the Rabah General Hospital, Sokoto, on Tuesday revealed that only five patients were on admission due to meningitis.

“We have only five patients today compared to the nearly 50 we had about a week ago,” the officer in charge of the hospital, Mr Abubakar Yarima, told NAN.

The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Balarabe Kakale, also said that the epidemic has been brought under total control.

He said: “We have also embarked on the massive vaccination of no fewer than 700,000 people in the state, aged one to 30 years, against the deadly type C strain of the disease.

“This is going side by side with the Routine Immunisation of children against the six child killer diseases across the state.”

NAN recalls that Kakale had on April 3 put the death toll caused by meningitis in the state at 41.