The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), had said that Nigeria needs an additional $3.3 million to fight the diphtheria outbreak that has over 11,500 suspected cases and claimed the lives of 453 people, mostly children.
UNICEF has deployed a total of 9.3 million doses of diphtheria vaccines to tackle what it described as the most severe and unprecedented outbreak in global history.
The vaccines have been dispatched to affected states including Kano, Bauchi, Borno, Yobe, Katsina, Kaduna, and Jigawa.
It confirmed that the outbreak has so far resulted in more than 7,000 confirmed cases of diphtheria, with most cases being children aged between 4 to 15 years who have not received even a single dose of the vital vaccine.
The agency also raised the alarm on the urgent need for the Nigerian government to begin widespread vaccination, particularly in affected states.
Rownak Khan, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, stated the importance of vaccination and called on partners, stakeholders, and the international community to rally together to ensure that every child in Nigeria was reached with life-saving vaccines.
“The devastating impact of this diphtheria outbreak is a grim reminder of the importance of vaccination.
“Nigeria is home to a staggering 2.2 million children who have not received even a single dose of vaccine, the second largest such cohort in the world.
“We must collectively take urgent actions to drastically reduce this number. Every child deserves protection from preventable diseases. This is not negotiable.”
The children’s agency also highlighted the importance of strengthening routine immunization, community engagement, and health systems to avoid similar outbreaks in the future.