Nigeria is plagued on many fronts, fighting constantly against a number of scourges and epidemics as a result of a weak healthcare infrastructure, inadequate investment in healthcare, a lack of access to high-quality healthcare services, and a stagnant health workforce. A fatal outbreak of diphtheria is also on the loose, in addition to the crippling and deadly Lassa fever and cholera outbreaks that occur every year, as well as the ongoing fight against a global pandemic brought on by the Coronavirus sickness. According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease, the bacteria Corynebacterium diphtheriae, which produces a toxin, is the source of the infectious disease diphtheria, which is highly contagious. People can become seriously ill from the poison.
An individual’s nose, throat, and perhaps skin are all affected by the infection. Five to ten percent of cases of diphtheria result in death, with small children having a greater mortality rate. The NCDC claims that the bacteria that causes diphtheria spreads from person to person most frequently through respiratory droplets caused by coughing or sneezing. Additionally, touching contaminated items, clothing, or open sores might get someone sick. Children and adults who have not gotten any or just one dose of the pentavalent vaccine are more likely to get diphtheria. People who live in crowded conditions, in unsanitary regions, among healthcare professionals, and others who are exposed to suspected or confirmed diphtheria cases are also at risk.
A total of 34 people have been killed by the disease.
Nigeria recently confirmed an outbreak of the disease that originated in Kano State. Aminu Tsanyawa, the commissioner of health for Kano State, confirmed the outbreak of the deadly diphtheria disease, which is believed to have killed at least 25 people in the state. He also noted that the rapid response team had been reactivated and that an action plan had been put into motion to stop the spread of the disease there. It is instructive to remember that vaccinations are one of the best approaches to stop the spread of diphtheria. The NCDC reports that 34 people have died so far
According to reports, Africa’s implementation of the advised expanded program on Immunization with vaccinations has lagged behind other regions in the world despite the advantages of childhood immunization and routine vaccination coverage for all. Nigeria, the most populated nation in Africa, has a 2018 population density of 31%, followed by Ethiopia (43% in 2019), Uganda (55% in 2016), and Ghana (57 % 2014). Sadly, vaccine-preventable diseases continue to be the largest cause of childhood mortality globally, with an estimated three million fatalities annually, mostly in Africa and Asia. According to a study titled “Factors influencing childhood immunization uptake in Africa: a thorough review,” 29% of newborn deaths between the ages of 0 and 59 months were thought to be brought on by diseases that can be prevented by vaccinations.
In order to combat the disease, immunization rates must be increased.
To stop diphtheria and other deadly diseases, Nigerian health officials must do more to increase immunization rates. It is crucial to increase awareness of the signs and symptoms of diphtheria as well as its transmission in addition to vaccination. Among other things, this entails teaching people on how to spot the disease’s early warning signs, such as a sore throat, fever, and difficulty swallowing, as well as how to stop its spread by using excellent hygiene and avoiding close contact with sick people.
It is essential to improve the country’s surveillance and response mechanisms in order to quickly detect and contain epidemics. This requires supplying medical staff with the necessary equipment and training, as well as establishing effective lines of communication between the general public and health authorities. With 133 million people living in multidimensional poverty in Nigeria’s prevalence of extreme poverty makes the effort more challenging. In addition, Nigeria, which has a population of 220 million, has a doctor-to-patient ratio of 1:5,000 as opposed to the World Health Organization’s recommendation of 1:600. This significantly raises the health risks in Nigeria.
More education needed in the topic of immunizing youngsters.
Osagie Ehanire, the minister of health, recently made a commitment to bolster the system of primary healthcare. The Buhari administration ought to fulfill this commitment. More hospitals should be constructed and renovated by the state governments. LGs should give effective primary healthcare facilities first priority. The three tiers should keep enough immunizations on hand. Religious leaders should educate their people about the need of immunizing youngsters. Nigeria cannot continue to remain helpless and watch helplessly as vaccine-preventable diseases decimate its population, particularly children. Despite the nation’s shameful global ranking for the burden of pediatric ailments, the vaccine innovation did not emerge from its medical experts. The concerned authorities should have been active in doing practical research to address various diseases in the nation.
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