UNICEF To Raise $3.3m To Combat Diphtheria In Nigeria
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Nigeria said it needs “an additional US$ 3.3 million” till the end of the year to adequately respond to the diphtheria outbreak.
It said with over 453 death tolls from diphtheria outbreak in Nigeria, UNICEF Nigeria has issued an urgent need for mass immunisation.
The outbreak has so far resulted in over 11,500 suspected cases, more than 7,000 confirmed cases, and claimed the lives of 453 people with children mostly affected.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by its Representative , Dr. Rownak Khan on Wednesday.
Khan noted that most cases are children aged between 4 to 15 years who have not received even a single dose of the vital vaccine, laying bare the urgency of the vaccination situation in Nigeria.
UNICEF is providing urgent support to the Nigerian government in its efforts to combat the outbreak.
It said a crucial part of this support includes the procurement of vaccines to support the government’s response, noting that “So far, on behalf of the government, UNICEF has deployed 9.3 million doses of diphtheria vaccines to affected states including Kano, Bauchi, Borno, Yobe, Katsina, Kaduna and Jigawa.”
Of the 9.3 million doses of diphtheria vaccines, 4 million doses have been dispatched to Kano, the epicentre of the outbreak, in addition, 4 million doses of vaccines are being procured and will be handed over to the government in the coming weeks.
According to Khan, “The devastating impact of this diphtheria outbreak is a grim reminder of the importance of vaccination.”
It revealed further that 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.
“To respond effectively to the outbreak, UNICEF Nigeria needs to raise an additional US$ 3.3 million until the end of the year.
“We must collectively take urgent actions to drastically reduce this number. Every child deserves protection from preventable diseases. This is not negotiable,” Khan declared.
UNICEF Nigeria called on partners, stakeholders, and the international community to rally together to ensure that every child in Nigeria is reached with life-saving vaccines.
The children’s agency emphasised the importance of strengthening routine immunisation, community engagement, and health systems to avoid similar outbreaks in the future.