The World Health Organization WHO and the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF has donated about one hundred and twelve million Naira to support Nigeria’s mass vaccination campaign against Diphtheria.
The support for the Diphtheria vaccination campaign which came through the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, NPHCDA is to commence from August to September.
Diphtheria is a highly contagious vaccine-preventable disease that spread through direct contact with an infected person or exposure to airborne droplets, and poses a severe risk to people of all ages, particularly our children.
The disease primarily affects the respiratory system, and symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, neck swelling, and breathing difficulties, which If left untreated, could lead to death.
Since the outbreak of Diphtheria in May last year to July 2023, Nigeria has reported 2,455 suspected cases in 26 states with 836 confirmed cases in 33 LGAs across 8 states of Cross River, Kano, Katsina, Kaduna, Lagos, Osun, Yobe, and FCT.
Out of the confirmed cases, 83 deaths have been reported, making vaccination against the disease critical especially amongst children.
The WHO Country Representative, Dr Walter Mulombo said based on the request by the Nigeria Center for Disease Control and Prevention, NCDC, about 1800 vials Diphtheria Antitoxin and Erythromycin IV antibiotic medication for the case management of Diphtheria would arrive the country in two days time, while 18 rapid response team would be deployed to support Bauchi, Kaduna and Katsina states.
Dr Mulombo added that WHO was working with NPHCDA to organize the 1st phase of the vaccination campaign for children 0 to 14 years in four states with 92 million Naira.
Similarly, the Representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, Dr Edwardo Celades said UNICEF was supporting treatment centers in Yobe and kaduna state and would also support the Diphtheria vaccination campaign with 20 million Naira
On the efforts by the Nigeria center for Disease Control and Prevention, NCDC in combating the disease, the Director General Dr Adetifa Ifedayo represented by the a Director in the Agency, Dr Yahaya Disu, explained that NCDC has set up a National diphtheria technical office to provide rapid response to affected states as well as partnering with NPHCDA to improve routine immunization at the grassroots.
Appreciating the partners for the financial and technical support, the Executive Secretary NPHCDA Dr Faisal Shuaib said the campaign exercise which he said would be in two phases, with phase 1 capturing 25 LGAs across 4 state next month
Dr Shuaib therefore called on Parents and caregivers to take advantage of the campaign and vaccinate their children against Diphtheria.