The Executive Director of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, has said no fewer than 600 persons have been killed by diphtheria since the beginning of the current outbreak in December 2022.
He stated this yesterday in Abuja during the third quarter 2023 review meeting of the Northern Traditional Leaders Committee (NTLC) on primary health care delivery, Daily Trust reports.
He said over 14,000 suspected cases had been recorded during the period with over 10,000 of them recorded in Kano.
He said the disease had spread to 19 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) with over 97% of cases recorded in Kano, Yobe, Katsina, Borno, Kaduna and Bauchi states.
Shuaib said the federal government would launch the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines on October 24, adding that the NPHCDA would embark on a comprehensive campaign to introduce HPV vaccines in schools and healthcare centres.
At the event, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof Muhammad Ali Pate, said the federal government was committed to bringing the diphtheria outbreak under control and had established the Diphtheria Emergency Task Team to quickly tackle it.
He said the country has made a lot of progress on polio immunization but that a lot of work still needed to be done in tackling circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus, and zero-dose children.
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, thanked the members of the committee for their work and enjoined them to double their efforts.
He also thanked the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Aliko Dangote Foundation and other partners for supporting the committee with funds.
He told newsmen that since the detection of the diphtheria outbreak in March, approximately 156 cases and 20 deaths had been recorded so far across the state.