The Kano State Government has established three treatment centres as the cases of diphtheria in the state surged beyond 130.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Abubakar Yusuf, who disclosed this on Thursday, said the state had deployed the necessary mechanisms to curtail the spread of the disease.
He disclosed that over 130 persons were admitted last Monday alone as the case continued to rise.
Giving an update on the outbreak of the diseases, Yusuf lamented that a state such as Kano should not be battling such an outbreak, but for the failure of the previous administration to immunise the people.
He said, “Governor Abba Yusuf has since directed the ministry to swing into action to curtail the spread of the deadly disease. Three designated centres have been provided for treatment and admission.
“The general public should not hesitate to seek medical assistance whenever they experience any of the symptoms listed by the Nigeria Centre for Disease and Control.”
Similarly, in Kwara State, the Executive Secretary of the state’s Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Nusirat Elelu, said, on Thursday, that the state had extended immunisation of children and infants to 388 health care facilities in the state to guard against diphtheria and other children diseases, including poliomyelitis.
Speaking with The PUNCH on the level of turnout in the state, she said, “We have extended our immunisation to 388 facilities covering the 194 wards in the 16 local government councils of Kwara State.
“We are not limiting the immunisation to diphtheria alone; we are also covering poliomyelitis and other diseases that can affect children in infancy.”
The Gombe State Epidemiologist, Dr Bile Nuhu, told The PUNCH that the state was taking proactive measures against diphtheria, though the state had not recorded a case since the outbreak of the disease in parts of the country.
Nuhu said, “Diphtheria is a vaccine-preventable disease. It’s captured in the routine vaccines for children younger than nine months. If children have that one, they are protected. Now the issue is that we have diphtheria, which affects children from two to 14 years old. The routine immunisation only covers those younger than one year. The efforts at the federal level between the NCDC and NPHCDA are to see how they can expand it so that it can cover the other ones.”
Meanwhile, checks by our correspondent in Abuja on Thursday indicated low turnout for the diphtheria vaccine in the Federal Capital Territory, three weeks after it announced the outbreak of diphtheria and vaccination for children.
The FCT Director, Public Health Department, Dr Sadiq Abdulrahman, had on July 3 announced the outbreak of the disease, noting that already a four-year-old was killed in Abuja.
The outbreaks earlier recorded in Lagos, Ondo, and Kano states in January had triggered a national response by the NDDC.
Written by: Kevin Nwabueze