Dr Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the National Primary Health Care Agency, stated on Wednesday that 19 states and the Federal Capital Territory have so far registered over 14,000 suspected cases of diphtheria.
Shuaib, on the other hand, said that nearly 10,000 of the cases occurred in Kano State, the epicenter of the outbreak. He stated that nearly 600 people died in Kano, Yobe, Katsina, Borno, Kaduna, and Bauchi states, accounting for 97% of all cases. He made the announcement at the Northern Traditional Leaders Committee’s quarterly review meeting in Abuja.
He said the update underscores the dire need for the NTLC and stakeholders to intensify community mobilization, awakening public awareness and fostering acceptance of vaccination services.
“At the peak of the outbreak, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare established the Diphtheria Emergency Task Team with the objective of bringing the outbreak under control. One of his charges was to involve the NTLC in the response effort. I am happy to report that in my field visit across Borno, Yobe, Jigawa, and Kano States, the royal highnesses have been up and doing engaging their communities to ensure they are well informed about the importance of vaccination,” he added.
On Wednesday, Shuaibu, who is also the Co-Chairman of the Presidential Task Force Team on Diphtheria, visited the Kaduna Diphtheria Treatment Centre at Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital.
In an interview with journalists, he stated that Kaduna State had 156 cases, with 20 patients dead.
“When you live at the local government areas where the cases are rising, it’s very important that you recognize that this an airborne disease and just like we did during COVID-19, we should use facemasks,” he went on to say.