In a concerning development, the Jigawa State Ministry of Health has officially declared an outbreak of diphtheria within the state, with the unsettling tally of 91 suspected cases and a tragic loss of 10 lives.
Addressing a press conference in Dutse on Friday, Dr. Salisu Mu’azu, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, revealed the grim situation. He noted that two confirmed cases of diphtheria had already been identified in the Kazaure and Jahun Local Government Areas. Additionally, more samples have been dispatched to Abuja for comprehensive examination.
One disheartening observation is that the outbreak seems to have hit hardest in regions where routine immunization coverage was lacking. Dr. Mu’azu emphasized the crucial need for comprehensive vaccination efforts in these areas.
However, the Jigawa State Government has not remained passive in the face of this dire situation. They have taken proactive measures to address the outbreak, particularly in response to similar diphtheria outbreaks in neighboring states like Kano and Yobe.
The Permanent Secretary stressed that the Ministry has been diligent in gathering vital information and data from the affected regions. They have swiftly notified the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency and the National Disease Control for coordinated intervention.
Dr. Mu’azu also revealed that the state government is actively preparing to administer vaccines as soon as they become available. This strategic move is vital to curb the spread of the disease and protect the population.
Significantly, the outbreak of diphtheria can be partly attributed to disruptions in healthcare services brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic a few years ago. The suspension of routine immunization efforts during that period has left the population susceptible to such outbreaks.
The diphtheria outbreak in Jigawa, Nigeria is a stark reminder of the importance of vaccination and maintaining essential healthcare services, especially during times of crisis. The swift and coordinated response from the state government and health authorities is crucial in containing and eventually eradicating this deadly disease.