Worried at the alarming rate of Diphtheria Outbreak in Nigeria, the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has pledge to provide urgent support to the Nigerian government in its efforts to combat the outbreak.
So far it has deployed 9.3 million doses of diphtheria vaccines to affected states including Kano, Bauchi, Borno, Yobe, Katsina, Kaduna and Jigawa. Of these, 4 million doses have been dispatched to Kano, the epicentre of the outbreak. Another 4 million doses of vaccines are being procured and will be handed over to government in the coming weeks.
This is contained in a Press statement signed and issued by UNICEF Communication Assistant, Mr.Nchekwube Nwosu-Igbo to Journalist in Abuja.
According to the Statement the Agency is also worried that the outbreak which has resulted to over 11,500 suspected cases with more than 7,000 cases confirmed has claimed the lives of 453 people, mostly children.
“Most cases are children aged between 4 to 15 years who have not received even a single dose of the vital vaccine, laying bare the urgency of the vaccination situation in Nigeria.”
“The devastating impact of this diphtheria outbreak is a grim reminder of the importance of vaccination. Nigeria is home to a staggering 2.2 million children who haven’t received even a single dose of vaccine – the second largest such cohort in the world. We must collectively take urgent actions to drastically reduce this number. Every child deserves protection from preventable diseases. This is not negotiable”,
The Agency however called on partners, stakeholders, and the international community to rally together to ensure that every child in Nigeria is reached with life-saving vaccines. “The children’s agency emphasizes the importance of strengthening routine immunization, community engagement, and health systems to avoid similar outbreaks in the future noting that a whopping sum of US$ 3.3 million is needed to respond effectively to the outbreak, until the end of the year.