Majority of children with diphtheria not immunized

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The Coordinating Ministry of Health and Social Welfare says 98 per cent of unvaccinated children were infected with diphtheria in 19 states.

The Minister, Prof. Muhammad Ali Pate, made the disclosure at the Northern Traditional Leaders’ Committee on Primary Health Care Service Delivery (NTLC) Quarterly Review Meeting on Wednesday in Abuja.

The meeting was organised by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the NTLC meeting is a platform for the NPHCDA and its partners to engage traditional leaders on their roles and responsibilities toward improving primary healthcare delivery in their communities.

The minister called for the implementation of a rapid vaccination campaign.

He said that the 19 states must come together to save the lives of vulnerable children.

Pate said that the ministry and other stakeholders had come together to aggressively tackle the diphtheria challenge that had persisted for months.

He said that efforts were being made to ensure that the challenge would not linger.

“The key focus of these collaborative efforts is to improve local governance and enhance delivery of essential services.

“This involves including all relevant stakeholders in the conversation, not just the Federal Government.

“Leaders at all levels, including your highnesses and representatives from the private sector, are actively working together to address the pressing diphtheria issue that affects our people,” he said.

The minister said that a major milestone was the upcoming launch of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in Nigeria later in October.

“This vaccine not only aims to prevent cervical cancer in the years to come, but also emphasises the importance of engaging our royal fathers and strengthening the health system to ensure efficient delivery of vaccines.

“It acknowledges that different population segments require different approaches with childhood vaccination programmes catering for younger age groups, and COVID-19 vaccinations targeting adults,” he said.

He said that technical experts involved in the efforts had reassured the country of the safety and effectiveness of the HPV vaccine.



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