Diphtheria outbreak: Death toll hits 520 in Kano
19 September 2023 | 11:11 pm
The Director General, Kano State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Mahmud Nasir Muhammad, has said no fewer that 520 children have been killed by the deadly diphtheria outbreak. Besides, Muhammad revealed that 8,700 suspected cases were reported, of which more than 8,000 cases were confirmed as at end of August 2023. Muhammad's disclosure is the…
The Director General, Kano State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Mahmud Nasir Muhammad, has said no fewer that 520 children have been killed by the deadly diphtheria outbreak.
Besides, Muhammad revealed that 8,700 suspected cases were reported, of which more than 8,000 cases were confirmed as at end of August 2023.
Muhammad’s disclosure is the latest record yesterday during a one-day engagement with the media on the outbreak of diphtheria disease in the state.
The DG primary healthcare who attributed the alarming casualty to poor immunisation system in the state added that the present administration inherited rotten healthcare system with high number of zero doses children.
Apart from the poor management, Muhammad worried over the shortage of diphtheria vaccine in the state, despite over 6,000 children in dire need of the vaccine.
He explained that out of 35 local government areas presently highlighted with suspected cases, 22 areas with high mortality are being targeted of with eight metropolitan councils has highest cases.
According to him, “the state received 200,000 dosages of vaccine and less than one million doses after the outbreak of the disease. But according to our findings, we need over 6 million children to be vaccinated”.
He called on the federal government and partners to do something urgent for speed and effective control.
Earlier, Chief of UNICEF Field Office in Kano, Rahama R Mohammed Farah, described diphtheria as a current outbreak which is a threat to child survival, health, and the well-being of children.
Farah noted: “It is very important to understand that the analysis of the vaccination status of the suspected cases shows that 60.8% of all suspected cases are children who were not vaccinated”.
He disclosed that “UNICEF is therefore collaborating with government and partners to respond to the emergency to save lives of children affected.”
The chief of UNICEF Kano Field Office added that the Kano field office supported the Diphtheria Response since the first case of the Diphtheria disease in December 2022, “UNICEF has been working with government and partners to respond to the emergency.”
“UNICEF has been and continues to support the diphtheria response in Nigeria, focusing on providing technical and financial support to the government in all affected states, including Kano state, to implement the Diphtheria outbreak response.”
He added that the outbreak needs to be urgently stopped, controlled, and prevented from spreading. “Last week, UNICEF delivered 1.2 million vaccines to the Kano State government in our continuing support to the government for a response to the Diphtheria outbreak, a highly contagious, infectious disease that can cause death”.
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