The European Union has released 150,000 euro about N75million in humanitarian funds to prevent the spread of the diphtheria in Nigeria.
A statement by the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS in Abuja on Monday said it is in response to the increasing cases of diphtheria recorded since the beginning of 2023 in Kano, Katsina, Lagos, and Osun states.
The funding it explained would enable the Nigerian Red Cross to provide emergency assistance to reduce the impact of diphtheria on communities through risk communication, outbreak control activities, surveillance, patient referral and hygiene promotion, and early case detection in affected areas.
It said the fund would directly and indirectly target around over 1.5 million people, with a particular focus on vulnerable persons at risk of diphtheria and those living in sheltered communities or hard-to-reach locations.
The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, NCDC had on January 20, 2023, officially declared an outbreak of diphtheria in Kano and Lagos states after several suspected cases appeared a month earlier.
It then spread rapidly to other states; from 136 cases in the first week of January to about 733 suspected cases and deplores 89 fatalities.
What is Diphtheria?
Diphtheria is a highly contagious bacterial infection transmitted between humans.
It causes an infection of the upper respiratory tract, which can lead to breathing difficulties and suffocation.
Those most at risk are children and people who have not been fully vaccinated against the disease.
Reporting by Hamza Alkali; Editing by Marian Benjamin