The EU Delegation in Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have donated one million euros (N847 million) to fight the diphtheria epidemic in the country’s northeast and northwest.

The group pooled their resources to help those hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak in Nigeria and slow its spread.

The EU announced the promise in a statement issued by its Abuja embassy, which said the organization would contribute 34 million euros in June 2023 to help the EU fight disease and climate change.

To help contain the spread, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) received a Disaster Response Emergency amount (DREF) of 150,000 euros in March 2023, according to the announcement.

With this additional EU funds, UNICEF and the medical non-governmental organization, ALIMA, will be able to provide frontline health services with staff and technical assistance to improve surveillance and case detection, treat cases, raise community awareness, and help with vaccine procurement.

With 10,322 confirmed and 16,616 suspected cases of diphtheria since the beginning of the year, Nigeria is experiencing the world’s second-largest outbreak.

“Kano State represents the outbreak’s epicenter with 8,447 confirmed cases and 589 deaths. Approximately 96% of all possible cases have been found in just six states: Kano, Yobe, Katsina, Borno, Bauchi, and Kaduna.

Although efforts have been made to stem the spread of the disease throughout the Northwest and Northeast since the epidemic began in late 2022, the disease has progressively made its way to more states in those regions.

Seventy-two percent of all confirmed cases occur in children younger than 15 years old. Over 60% of all probable cases have not been vaccinated, according to an analysis of vaccination records,” it stated.

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