Nigeria records 7,202 diphtheria cases, 453 deaths
About 7,202 cases of diphtheria and 453 deaths have been recorded in 105 Local Councils across 18 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).In a joint statement issued by the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) and other development partners, government noted that a historical gap in vaccination coverage drove the outbreak, given that the most affected age group (five to 14 years) and result of the nationwide immunity survey showed that only 42 per cent of children under 15 years were fully protected against the ailment.
The agencies stated that the most effective protection against the disease was vaccination with Pentavalent or TD vaccine, adding that the government provides free, safe and effective vaccines at all primary healthcare centres nationwide.
Kano, according to the statement, recorded 6,185 cases, while Yobe had 640; Katsina, 213; Borno, 95; Kaduna, 16; 14 went to Jigawa. Others are Bauchi (eight); Lagos (eight); FCT (five); Gombe (five); Osun (three); Sokoto (three); Niger (two), while Cross River, Enugu, Imo, Nasarawa and Zamfara have one case apiece.
The document revealed that 5,299 of the confirmed cases, representing 73.6 per cent of the total, occurred among children aged one to 14 years, with those aged five to 14 years bearing the most of the brunt.
The statement reads in part: “Given the escalation of the outbreak and findings that 80 per cent of confirmed cases in the ongoing outbreak are unvaccinated, the Honourable Coordinating Minister of FMOH&SW, Prof Ali Pate, set up a national emergency task team, co-chaired by Executive Director of the NPHCDA and Director General of the NCDC for higher level coordination of outbreak response efforts.
“This includes ensuring optimal collaboration of all relevant health stakeholders in this fight. Other prominent members of the task force include the Director of Public Health, FMOH, representatives of the Federal Ministry of Information, World Health Organisation, United Nations Children’s Fund, USCDC, USAID, Gavi the Vaccine Alliance, other non-governmental organisations and development partners.”
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