Home News FG vaccinate 15 million children against diphtheria

FG vaccinate 15 million children against diphtheria

by Haruna Gimba
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By Muhammad Amaan

The Federal Government of Nigeria said that over five million children have been immunised with the pentavalent vaccine and 10 million children with the Tetanus-Diphtheria vaccine since the inception of the diphtheria response.

This was among the achievements highlighted by the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Professor Muhammad Ali Pate, at the ministerial press briefing series initiated by the Ministry of Information and National Orientation.

The pentavalent vaccine protects against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type b. The Td vaccine prevents tetanus and diphtheria.

Recall that last Friday, the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC), Dr Jide Idris said that the country recorded 16,248 cases of diphtheria and 646 deaths since 2022.

Currently, Nigeria is also responding to Lassa fever, meningitis, and measles, among others.

In September 2023, Pate constituted an emergency task force to curb the diphtheria outbreak in the country.

In November 2023, the FG launched a task force to work towards Lassa fever development in Nigeria.

According to Pate, the Federal Government’s commitment to immunisation has yielded remarkable results in protecting the population from vaccine-preventable diseases.

He said, “Through robust vaccination campaigns and outreach programmes, we have achieved significant strides in sustaining immunisation coverage nationwide, safeguarding our communities, particularly our children, from devastating diseases.

“Notably, our swift response to the diphtheria outbreak underscored our commitment to proactive disease control measures, swiftly containing the spread and saving countless lives. Since the inception of diphtheria response, over 5 million children have been immunized with the Penta vaccine and 10 million children with Td vaccines.”

The minister further said the government has provided steadfast support to states in combating the scourge of Lassa fever.

He noted that the government has also commenced the distribution of response commodities to states and treatment centres to combat the threat of Lassa fever.

Pate added, “These include Personal Protective Equipment, Ribavirin (injection and tablets), body bags, thermometers, hypochlorite hand sanitisers, and Information, Education, and Communication materials.

“By ensuring the availability of these critical resources, we aim to equip healthcare workers and facilities with the necessary tools to effectively manage and contain outbreaks.

“Recognising the importance of strategic planning and preparedness, we have developed a robust distribution plan for Lassa fever commodities. This plan ensures the timely and equitable distribution of resources to states and treatment centres based on their specific needs and vulnerability.

“Additionally, prepositioning of commodities has been undertaken to facilitate swift response and minimise logistical challenges during outbreaks.

“Confirmed cases of Lassa fever are promptly treated at identified treatment centres across the states.

These centres are equipped with the necessary medical expertise, facilities, and medications to provide comprehensive care to patients. By centralising treatment and care, we can effectively manage cases, prevent transmission, and improve patient outcomes.”

The minister assured that the government is committed to mitigating the impact of Lassa fever and safeguarding the health and well-being of all Nigerians through strategic planning, resource allocation, and collaborative efforts with state governments and healthcare partners.

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