The National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) says 117 children have died in Yobe state as a result of the outbreak of diphtheria.
Speaking on Monday inspecting the diphtheria isolation centre in Potiskum, the epicentre of the disease in the state, Faisal Shuaib, NPHCDA executive director, said 1,600 children had recovered from the disease.
Shuaib said 1,796 cases of diphtheria had been reported in Yobe since November 2022, adding that the disease was more prevalent among children aged five to 14 years.
He expressed satisfaction with the diphtheria vaccination conducted in Potiskum and 17 other LGAs of the state.
“By October 12, more vulnerable kids will be provided with vaccines to curtail the disease. Vaccines are powerful, they are safe and they work,” NAN quoted him as saying.
“Diphtheria is a disease of ancient times; with vaccination, deaths are preventable.”
He said the low vaccination was responsible for the recent outbreak of the disease across the country.
“In 2016 and 2017; the MICS NICS survey, an independent survey of the National Bureau of Statistics, indicated that only 33 percent of Nigerians were covered by vaccinations,” Shuaib said.
“Due to concerted efforts by the federal government and development partners, the figure rose to 70 percent in 2019.
“But the outbreak of COVID-19 which prevented many people from taking their children for vaccination due to lockdown and fear of contracting COVID-19, there was a deep in coverage down to 57 percent.”