from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
ABUJA, (CAJ News) -THE death toll in the outbreak of diphtheria in the terror-prone northeastern Nigeria is increasing.
According to the government and health agencies in the Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states, no less than 173 people have died from the disease since the beginning of the year.
The deaths are from 2 195 cases.
Yobe is the epicentre, with 118 deaths from 1 833 cases.
A further 55 people have died in Borno, from 357 cases.
Adamawa has recorded five cases and no fatalities. It is also experiencing a rebound of cholera, with 41 cases reported, including a single death.
Experts have blamed the surge in diseases on the unpredictable security situation, which hampers movements of health workers, drugs and other medical supplies.
The three states are the worst affected by the insurgency perpetrated by Islamist groups.
Authorities have warned of a high risk of other epidemic outbreaks including meningitis, measles and yellow fever.
There is a severe shortage of skilled health care workers, particularly doctors, nurses and midwives, with many remaining reluctant to work in inaccessible areas because of ongoing armed conflict.
In addition, the health service delivery continues to be hampered by the breakdown of health facilities infrastructure.
“Access to secondary health care and referral services in remote areas is significantly limited,” said a health spokesperson.
Unavailability of network coverage in the areas; newly-liberated from armed groups also negatively affects timely submission of health data for prompt decision-making.
– CAJ News