The FCT Executive Committee (FCT EXCO), has directed that necessary preemptive measures be taken against the emergence of the deadly childhood disease diphtheria by all health agencies in the territory.
The Director, Information and Communication, FCT, Muhammad Sule, in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja, said the FCT EXCO gave the directive at its meeting held in Gwarinpa District.
Sule said the EXCO also directed Health and Human Services Secretariat to ensure increased surveillance, awareness creation and sensitisation to ocurb the risk of the disease emerging and spreading.
He said the EXCO further urged the Health and Human Services Secretariat to liaise with Area Council Services and Chairmen of the six Area Councils to convene an emergency meeting with relevant technical partners and work out modalities to effectively counter the disease.
” The committee enjoined the Health and Human Services Secretariat to galvanise the support of all stakeholders and ensure massive sensitisation of residents to further minimise the risk of contracting the ailment.
“This has become necessary as cases have been reported in some states around the FCT, ” he said.
According to him, EXCO also directed the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC) to restrict activities of Point of Sales (PoS) operators at the city center to only commercial areas due to security concerns.
Sule said that diphtheria was a bacterial infection caused by the organism referred to as corynebacterium diphtheria which affects the throat, nose, and sometimes, skin of unvaccinated children and rarely adults with poor immunity.
He said: “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.
” The people most at risk are the unvaccinated and those who live in crowded areas and/or where there is poor sanitation.
” To reduce the risk of contracting the disease, children are expected to get fully vaccinated with three doses of the pentavalent vaccine as recommended in the National Childhood Immunization Schedule. ”
The director stated that FCT immunisation coverage currently stood at 83 per cent against the national average of 57 per cent.
“Though at least 95 per cent of all children are expected to be vaccinated to assure herd immunity, thereby preventing spread, ” he said.
Sule said the FCT EXCO also observed that PoS was a commercial enterprise, and, therefore, should be conducted only in the designated commercial areas.
” Aside from the security implications, the activities of PoS operators also create environmental nuisances as they serve to attract other commercial activities, thereby generating uncontrolled waste.
” The EXCO reemphasises the importance that the present leadership of the FCTA places on the security and well-being of the residents.
“It, therefore, assures that it will take every necessary measure to protect all Nigerians and visitors residing in Abuja, ” he said.
The FCT EXCO meeting was presided over by the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello and attended by other principal officers in the FCT administration. (NAN)