Diphtheria affects 39 LGAs in Kano with 5,800 suspected cases – UNICEF
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), on Tuesday, said that Kano State has recorded 5,800 suspected cases of Diphtheria from January to date.
The UN Agency said the cases were recorded in 39 local government areas of the state.
The Head, UNICEF Field Office, Kano, Mr. Rahama Mohammned-Farah, stated this in Kano during a one-day media orientation on the Diphtheria outbreak.
According to him, Kano State has the highest number of recorded cases in the country, adding that Diphtheria was a highly contagious and infectious disease that could cause death.
Mohammned-Farah stressed that proactive measures were necessary to stem the outbreak.
“Recently, we have seen a surge in the number of reported Diphtheria cases in Nigeria, and Nigeria is currently facing an outbreak that needs to be stopped and prevented.
“As of July, Diphtheria cases have been on the rise. As of last week, over 400 suspected cases with 11 deaths have been reported in Kano.
“Out of the 39 LGAs affected, eight are the most affected, including Ungogo with 2,651 cases; Dala 989, Fagge 943, Gwale 714, Kumbotso 713, Nassarawa 538, Kano Municipal 506 and Tarauni 269,” he said.
He said that 60.8 percent of the suspected cases had been reported in children not vaccinated, which reinforced the critical need to address the issue of zero doses, especially in Kano State.
“UNICEF delivered 1.2 million vaccines to the Kano State Government in our continuing support to the government response to Diphtheria outbreak.
“Diphtheria outbreak is a threat to child survival, health and the wellbeing of children. UNICEF is collaborating with the government and partners to respond to the emergency to save the lives of children affected.
“In Kano state, UNICEF supported Tetanus-Diphtheria reactive vaccination campaigns in February, April, and August, vaccinating 23,200 children in round one.
“While 277,796 children vaccinated in round two and 29,500 others in round 3 of the exercise.
“We engaged 150 traditional leaders on the Diphtheria outbreak and distribution of Diphtheria IEC materials and deployed 1,500 VCMs to the worst affected LGAs to conduct house-to-house sensitizations and referral of suspected cases to health facilities.
“Media has a key role to play particularly in infection prevention, and risk communication and community engagement,” he said.
Also speaking, Dr Muhammad Nasir-Mahmoud, the Director-General, Kano State Primary Healthcare Management Board, said the state government had adopted drastic measures to curtail the spread of the disease.
“We are committed to educating the public about what is happening and the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) has promised that Kano will be accorded priority in terms of vaccine distribution,” he said.
While describing the media as partners in the fight against Diphtheria, Nasir-Mahmoud urged them to support the campaign against the disease. (NAN)