ABOUT 500,000 children have been immunised against Diphtheria in Kano State this year.
Kano State is one of the few states which have been battling with Diphtheria disease. According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Diphtheria is a serious bacterial infection caused by the bacterium Corynebacterium which affects the nose, throat and, sometimes, skin of an individual.
A Kano State primary health care immunisation officer Shehu Abdullahi Muhammad, highlighted how the state is combating the disease while speaking to The ICIR in a special report published on May 11. The report explained how Kano State is mitigating the spread of Diphetria through advocacy and funding.
According to the report, the disease has spread across five local government areas in Kano State, namely, Ndala, Gwale, Ungogo, Nasarawa and Tarauni and has caused the deaths of at least 61 persons while hundreds of residents were admitted in hospitals.
Out of at least 783 patients on admission as of March 2, 2023, 360 are females while 423 are males.
The NCDC attributed the high fatality rate to delays in diagnosis and the absence of diphtheria antitoxin during the early stage of the outbreak.
While the factors for this may also be attributed to low vaccination across the country, Kano State is, however, an exception, according to sources and authorities who spoke to The ICIR. The state has recorded significant progress in vaccination since the outbreak this year.
Some residents explained that advocacy and house-to-house immunisation efforts by the Kano State Government are mitigating the spread of diphtheria.
Speaking on how Kano State is mitigating the spread, Muhammad said the state constituted a technical working group under the rapid response in January 2023, to tackle the outbreak.
According to him, the committee identifies the victims of the disease and the plagued areas and proceeds to take their samples to determine who has the disease and further isolate them from the population.
Muhammad also noted that the state healthcare sector engages in outreach to every part of the state to provide vaccines for the people, especially in the five most affected LGAs.
“We have even concluded the second phase of vaccinations in five LGAs, Ndala, Gwale, Ungogo, Nasarawa and Tarauni, these are the five epic centres LGAs who have high burdens of transmission of these diseases and people were reached since February, and we did the second phase in March/April. We are now preparing for the third phase because the national body has planned for three consecutive months of RI intensification activities campaign in all 23 LGA and intensified the diphtheria activities in five LGA that I mentioned earlier.
“We have vaccinated over 500,000. The first concerning phase one is that the national will require one million doses of TD vaccine, and unfortunately national didn’t have this quantity, they gave us 500,000, and we were able to immunise more than 270,000. The recent conclusion of this RI intensification phase two, which we finished yesterday (April), is that over 350,000 (eligible from four years to fourteen years of age) were vaccinated. So if we sum it all up; 270,000 people plus 350,000 people, we were able to reach more than 600,000 people who have benefited from the vaccine in the state.”
Muhammad further explained that the state target population for Diphtheria vaccination coverage is 1.5 million and has, however reached 50/60 per cent, adding that the third round of the exercise will start in May.