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NPHCDA: Over 80% of Diphtheria Infected Children Were Not Vaccinated

According to Dr. Faisal Shuaib, the executive director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), over 80 percent of children that have died of diphtheria or were admitted to hospitals never received routine childhood immunisations.

The NPHCDA boss said this after inspecting the diphtheria treatment centre at the Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital, Kano, on Wednesday.

He urged parents to ensure that their children are up to date with their vaccines and appealed to caregivers to pay attention to personal and environmental hygiene and avoid crowded rooms.

Dr. Shuaib said, “I implore every parent/caregiver to take proactive measures to protect their loved ones. Immunisation is the most effective safeguard against diphtheria.”

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He also advised individuals at higher risk of contracting diphtheria to get vaccinated immediately, as he encouraged citizens to be patient, saying the country would rise above the challenges presented by the disease.

The executive director acknowledged that there are gaps in public knowledge about vaccinations but reassured that inoculations would not be mandatory, taking into account some public concerns.

“Diptheria has had a significant impact on Nigeria, with more than 14,000 reported cases of the disease. The states are primarily responsible for 97 per cent of cases in Kano, Katsina, Borno, Yobe, and Jigawa.”

Dr. Shuaib, however, expressed satisfaction with the commitment of the state governments toward improving the quality of healthcare.

Diphtheria is a bacterial infection that is caused by the corynebacterium species which affects an individual’s nose, throat and sometimes, skin. Some symptoms include fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough, red eyes, neck swelling and difficulty breathing.