The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has revealed that Kaduna State has recorded 156 confirmed cases of diphtheria with 20 reported deaths.
Dr. Faisal Shuaib, the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the NPHCDA, who also serves as the Co-Chair of the Federal Task Team on Diphtheria, made this announcement during the team’s visit to Kaduna on Wednesday.
After inspecting the Kaduna Diphtheria Treatment Centre at the Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital, Dr. Shuaib told newsmen that their purpose was to assess the situation of the diphtheria outbreak affecting parts of Kaduna state.
He said, “Kaduna is one of the seven states with a high number of diphtheria cases. We are currently at the Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital, where mild to moderate cases are being treated before transferring patients to infectious disease hospitals.”
Dr. Shuaib noted that since the detection of the diphtheria outbreak in March, approximately 156 cases and 20 deaths have been recorded so far across the state.
“This is a concerning number of diphtheria, but it’s important to note that many patients are seeking medical attention at a late stage. The media also plays a crucial role in raising awareness and providing valuable information about the existence of this disease,” he added.
He emphasized the importance of early presentation by patients and the necessity of vaccinating their contacts.
Diphtheria is a preventable disease, and Dr. Shuaib pointed out that approximately 80 per cent of those affected had not been vaccinated.
He highlighted the variation in outbreak intensity within Kaduna, with areas having higher vaccination rates reporting fewer cases of the disease.
He emphasized that vaccines were the most effective tools against vaccine-preventable diseases and commended the state government’s efforts in combating the outbreak.
Dr. Shuaib also encouraged the public to wear face masks, particularly when visiting healthcare facilities, to help control the spread of the disease.
He praised the Chief Medical Director of the Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital and the State’s Primary Health Care Board for their leadership in containing the disease and expressed optimism that, with their efforts, the outbreak would be controlled within a short period.