UNICEF Nigeria says it is amplifying efforts to counter a growing outbreak of diphtheria that has affected children in 27 states.
In response to the outbreak, UNICEF revealed that it is closely collaborating with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, affected States and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, in providing technical support to plan and operationalize the response.
In a statement issued by UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Ms Cristian Munduate, on Friday and made available to Newsmen disclosed that most confirmed cases, approximately 71.5%, occurred among children aged 2 – 14 years.
It further revealed that as of July 2023, 3,850 suspected cases were reported with 1,387 confirmed as diphtheria.
It added that the disease has tragically claimed 122 lives, with a case fatality rate of 8.7%.
It states that the outbreak has affected mainly Kano, Yobe, Katsina, Lagos, FCT, Sokoto, and Zamfara, which account for 98.0% of the suspected cases.
Ms Munduate emphasized the pressing need to reach children who had missed out on their vaccines due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
In light of these sobering statistics, UNICEF Nigeria urges all parents and guardians to ensure their children receive routine immunizations to protect them from preventable diseases like diphtheria.
The agency stressed the need to intensify continues efforts to address the ongoing outbreak and work alongside the government to achieve a healthier, safer future for every Nigerian child.