Diphtheria: How Misinformation, Vaccine Safety Concerns Fuel Outbreaks, Deaths In Nigeria

Nigeria is currently experiencing a diphtheria outbreak. UNICEF describes it as the most severe diphtheria outbreak in recent global history. Despite the fact that diphtheria is a vaccine-preventable disease, the disease has continued to claim lives and spread to more states of the country. This report x-rayed the drivers of poor uptake of diphtheria vaccines in Nigeria, ways to tackle them, as well as the implications of the outbreak on global health. 

Sunusi Shu’aibu, 2, is one of the children admitted at the diphtheria treatment centre of the Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH) in Kano, the epicentre of the current diphtheria outbreak in Nigeria.

His mother, Rahane Shu’aibu from Dawakin Tofa Local Government Area of the state, said Sunusi was not vaccinated against diphtheria and other diseases in the routine immunisation schedule.

“Everyone in my husband’s large family does not believe in vaccinating children against diseases. It is a practice I met when I got married into the family, and so, none of my four children and those of other family members have received any vaccine,” she said.

Shu’aibu, who said she gave birth to her son at home, added that there is a health centre in her community where some mothers take their children for vaccination, but that the men of her family who make decisions, as well as their wives have negative perceptions about the safety of vaccines for children.

She said that before her son fell ill, two children in the family had died of diphtheria.

Read more: https://dailytrust.com/diphtheria-how-misinformation-vaccine-safety-concerns-fuel-outbreaks-deaths-in-nigeria/#:~:text=He%20identified%20misinformation%20as%20one,the%20population%2C%E2%80%9D%20he%20said.

Ifah Sunday Ele
Ifah Sunday Ele
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