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DIPTHERIA OUTBREAK: FG Constitutes Emergency TaskForce

Prof Muhammad Ali Pate

Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Professor Muhammad Ali Pate has constituted an Emergency Taskforce to curb Diphtheria Outbreak in the country. Diphtheria cases have been detected in 14 states, with Kano as the epicentre.

The Taskforce is to be co-chaired by the ED/EOC of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib and the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Ifedayo Adetifa.

Other members of the Taskforce included, Director of Public Health in the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Dr Anyaike Chukwuma, representatives from World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Federal Ministry of Information and the Northern Traditional Leaders Committee on Primary Healthcare Delivery (NTLC).

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."

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 response 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, Plateau, Nassarawa, Kaduna, Katsina, Yobe, Bauchi, Gombe, Borno, Zamfara, Jigawa and Kano.

The Coordinating Minister 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 am 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. 

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