Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Ali Pate, has said the Nigerian government will deploy the power of vaccine to control diphtheria outbreak,
According to him, 98 per cent of the children affected by the disease have not been immunised.
Similarly, the government will begin the roll-out of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine from October 24, 2023 in a bid to prevent cervical cancer among adolescent girls in the country.
At the Northern Traditional Leaders’ Committee on Primary Health Care Service Delivery quarterly review meeting, organised by the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), yesterday, in Abuja, Pate restated government’s commitment to bring the diphtheria outbreak under control and aggressively work with state governments and development partners to quickly stamp out the disease before it spread beyond the 19 states of the North.
He noted that diphtheria is a vaccine-preventable disease and lamented that 98 per cent of the children affected by the disease received zero immunisation, adding that if the children were vaccinated, they would not have had diphtheria.
“We are going to use the power of vaccines to control the ongoing diphtheria outbreak. If the children were vaccinated, they would not have had diphtheria. But we have to catch up because there is no discrimination in the spread. That is why we set up an emergency task force led by the Executive Director of NPHCDA and the Director General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to work with development partners to bring this problem to a halt,” he said.
The minister noted that traditional leaders, as custodians of culture, were critical in educating, informing and overseeing the effort to control diphtheria outbreak.
Pate, who appealed to monarchs to persuade their subjects to accept the HPV vaccine, told them that the vaccine is safe and very effective.
He said: “As we look forward to the HPV vaccine, which will be launched on October 24, it is an important milestone that can be used to not only prevent cervical cancer among our women in the years to come, but also to further strengthen our engagement and health system to deliver the needed vaccines. It is for different segments of the population.”
Executive Director of NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, called on the traditional leaders to join forces with their State Primary Health Care Development Agencies (SPHCDAs) and educational authorities to guarantee the seamless introduction of HPV vaccines, leveraging on traditional platforms to deliver precise and essential information about these vaccines.