The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported that a Diphtheria outbreak has affected 27 states in Nigeria, resulting in 122 fatalities with an 8.7 per cent case fatality rate. The disease has hit Kano, Yobe, Katsina, Lagos, FCT, Sokoto, and Zamfara the hardest, accounting for 98 per cent of suspected cases.
Children at Risk
The victims of the outbreak are predominantly children, with approximately 71.5 per cent of confirmed cases occurring among children aged two to 14 years. Most of the affected children, especially those who died, had not received a single dose of the vaccine, highlighting the urgency to reach the unreached population.
UNICEF is actively working with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the affected states, and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) to provide technical support for response planning and operations. The agency is committed to supplying laboratory resources for testing suspected cases and implementing risk communication and community engagement activities. Additionally, UNICEF will transport vaccines and necessary equipment to affected states, train health workers and volunteers, and provide essential medical supplies to combat the outbreak.