Health agencies charged to increase surveillance on diphtheria in Abuja

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FCT Minister, Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello

The Federal Capital Territory Executive Committee (FCT Exco) has directed that all necessary preemptive measures be taken against the emergence of the deadly childhood disease known as Diphtheria. The message was sent to all relevant health agencies in the territory. The Health and Human Services Secretariat of the FCT Administration was further directed to ensure increased surveillance and awareness creation and sensitization by all its relevant agencies, to curb the risk of the disease emerging and spreading within the territory.

The FCT Executive Council meeting, presided over by the FCT Minister, Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello was attended by the FCT Permanent Secretary, Olusade Adesola, Chief of Staff to the FCT Minister, Mallam Muhammad Bashir Mai-Borno, Secretaries of FCT Mandate Secretariats and other directors, gave the directive after its meeting held in Gwarinpa I District, Abuja.

It urged the FCT Health and Human Services secretariat to liaise with the Area Council Services secretariat, as well as the chairmen of the six area councils in the territory to immediately convene an emergency meeting with relevant technical partners and work out modalities to effectively confront the disease should it rear its ugly head in the FCT.

Diphtheria is a bacterial infection caused by the organism, Corynebacterium Diphtheria which affects the throat, nose, and sometimes, skin of unvaccinated children and rarely adults with poor immunity. The symptoms of the disease also include fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough, red eyes, neck swelling, and difficulty in breathing.

Diphtheria spreads easily between people through direct contact with infected people, droplets from coughing or sneezing, and contact with contaminated clothing and objects, thereby underscoring the importance of hygiene and environmental sanitation in the prevention. The people most at risk are the unvaccinated and those who live in crowded areas and/or where there is poor sanitation.

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