The Executive Secretary of the Katsina State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Shamsudeen Yahaya, has revealed that the state has recorded 655 suspected cases of diphtheria in 33 out of the 34 Local Government Areas of the state.
Yahaya, in a chat with THISDAY, identified Katsina, Charanchi, Dutsinma, Ingawa, Kaita, Kusada, Mai’Adua, Musawa and Zango, as the worst hit local government areas in the state.
He, however, said the state government had so far vaccinated over 400,000 children against the contiguous disease in nine out of the 33 affected local governments.
He further explained that the vaccination campaign, which targets children between six weeks to 14 years, would be extended to the remaining affected local governments in no distant time.
Yahaya, explained that Governor Dikko Umaru Radda, had approved the procurement and distribution of drugs and other commodities worth millions of naira to prevent and control the outbreak.
He said the state government was supporting the Federal Teaching Hospital Katsina with diphtheria antitoxin, adding that plans had been concluded to establish additional treatment centres in Funtua and Daura senatorial zones.
With support from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Yahaya said the state government had perfected plans to optimise its laboratory to make preliminary diagnosis instead of taking samples to Abuja for confirmation.
He said: “The SPHCA has conducted vaccination in 9 LGAs that are worse affected and is planning to conduct another outbreak response vaccination in the next few days. We have about 655 suspected cases with some deaths recorded.
“Our Emergency Operation Centre in SPHCA is coordinating the response and meets daily to review the situation and reports to the Hon Commissioner, state ministry of health who chairs the Emergency Preparedness and response committee.
“We are supporting the Federal Teaching Hospital Katsina with diphtheria antitoxin (a very scarce drug for treatment) and we planned to open another treatment centre in Funtua and Daura.”
Yahaya added that the government also supported the training of primary healthcare workers on management of diphtheria, active case search and contact tracing, sensitisation and awareness creation about the disease.
He said the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organisation (WHO), National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) and other development partners were providing technical and logistics support to tame the outbreak in the state.