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Senate tells health ministry, disease control agencies to curb Diphtheria spread

By Nathaniel Zacchaeus, Abuja

The Senate has passed a resolution, which was to call on the Federal Ministry of Health, the National Centre for Disease Control, and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency to put an end to the further spread of Diphtheria in Nigeria.

The red chamber also urged the Federal Government to increase funding for all institutions involved in the production and distribution of vaccines.

This it noted, was to effectively tackle the prevalence of communicable diseases in Nigeria.

The red chamber as part of its resolution, directed relevant agencies to carry out a nationwide vaccination to curb the spread of Diphtheria in the country.

The Senate’s decision followed the consideration and adoption of a motion sponsored by Senator Sunday Katung representing Kaduna South Senatorial district.

Katung raised alarm over the spread of Diphtheria in Kaduna State which has resulted in several deaths in the state and its environs.

He noted that the airborne disease which can also be transmitted via fluid exchange has become a major health challenge that requires urgent government attention.

He said Kaduna State Government has confirmed that the death toll from the diphtheria outbreak in the State has risen to 17 with 68 suspected cases identified across the state as of Sunday the 23rd of July 2023.

He noted that a breakdown shows 10 people have reportedly died from the disease in Kafanchan, Jema’a Local Government Area of Kaduna State, while 3 children died in Makarfi Local Government Area, while seven others were hospitalized;

He also disclosed that diphtheria is a highly contagious, infectious disease caused by a bacterium called ‘Corynebacterium’ diphtheria rendering infected people struck with serious breathing and swallowing problems that may develop sores on the skin.

He said, “The highly contagious nature of the disease means that without immediate and concerted efforts towards curbing it, the disease would spread at a devastating rate especially considering the communal and poor living conditions in most rural communities in Nigeria.”

In his contribution to the motion, Senator Darlington Nwokocha representing Abia Central Senatorial district lamented the state of government control hospitals in the country especially the National Hospital in Abuja.

He said Nigeria should stop the fire brigade approach to the issue of health in the country while urging the Senate to suspend plenary one day and pay a visit to the national hospital to assess the level of decay and poor medical facilities.

After the debate on the motion, Senate unanimously urged all relevant health agencies in the country to liaise with health ministries in Kaduna and other neighbouring states to intensify contact- tracing to curb Diphtheria spread.


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