The United Nation Children Fund (UNICEF) has revealed that in the midst of the most severe diphtheria outbreak in recent global history, UNICEF has deployed 9.3 million doses of diphtheria vaccines to affected states in Nigeria.
This was contained in statement by UNICEF communication assistant, Nchekwube Nwosu-Igbo. The doses were said to have been deployed to Kano, Bauchi, Borno, Yobe, Katsina, Kaduna and Jigawa, adding four million doses were dispatched to Kano, the epicentre of the outbreak.
The statement added that another four million doses werw being procured and would be handed over to the government in the coming weeks.
The outbreak has so far resulted in over 11,500 suspected cases, more than 7,000 confirmed cases, and claimed 453 lives, 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 statement said.
It said UNICEF is providing urgent support to the Nigerian government in its efforts to combat the outbreak, adding that a crucial part of this support includes the procurement of vaccines to support the government’s response.
“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 of 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 statement quoted UNICEF representative, Dr. Rownak Khan.