To stop the diphtheria outbreak in Nigeria, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Muhammad Ali Pate, has constituted an Emergency Taskforce.
Recall that there have been cases of diphtheria found in 14 states, with Kano serving as the epicenter.
Dr. Faisal Shuaib, ED/EOC of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), and Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, Director General of the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), will jointly head the Taskforce.
Other Taskforce participants included Dr. Anyaike Chukwuma, Director of Public Health at the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, as well as representatives from the Federal Ministry of Information, World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the Northern Traditional Leaders Committee.
The Taskforce, the Minister explained is to operate in an emergency mode in order to forestall further spread to other states and bring succour to the populace.
This was contained in a statement signed by Tashikalmah Hallah, Special Assistant to the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Media and External Relations: “There should be massive mobilisation and sensitization. This is where the NTLC is critical. Our people should be aware about the disease, the dangers inherent in and what they need to do. We must mount rapid responses as our children are returning to school.
I am also glad that the ED/NPHCDA has shelved his trip to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), meetings in New York, to lead the rapid response team to Kano the epicentre of the crisis”, Prof Pate added.
The 14 infected states are, Lagos, Osun, Federal Captial Territory, Nasarawa, Kaduna, Katsina, Yobe, Bauchi, Gombe, Borno, Zamfara, Jigawa and Kano.
Pate also stated that the Taskforce team should liaise with the Governors of the 14 infected States for counterpart funding, ownership and mass mobilisation .
Also, the UNICEF has procured 1.2 million vials as support to the Federal government’s response to the outbreak. Dr Rownak Khan UNICEF Representative’s said in a meeting with the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social and Welfare, Prof Muhammad Ali Pate
According to her, “We had a productive meeting with the Minister of Health, Prof. Muhammad Ali Pate, earlier today, and I want to affirm UNICEF’s unwavering commitment to supporting the government’s comprehensive response to the diphtheria outbreak.
I’m pleased to announce that UNICEF, on behalf of the government, has procured 1.2 million vials of the Td vaccine which have arrived in Nigeria earlier today. These will be immediately dispatched to Kano, which is at the heart of this outbreak. Our collective aim is to safeguard the health and future of every child in Nigeria.”
Diphtheria is a highly contagious disease that’s spread through airborne droplets or contaminated personal items.