By Ibrahim Abdullahi
Perturbed by the prevalence of misinformation on diphtheria, the Kano State Ministry of Health (MOH) in collaboration with Breakthrough Action Nigeria (BAN), has organized a 2-day sensitization workshop on diphtheria for journalists from selected radio stations in the state.
Speaking at the workshop conducted in Jigawa state, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Abubakar Labaran Yusuf, stated that his ministry has been working day and night for eleven months to contain the diphtheria outbreak in the state with the support of the state government, donor agencies, and other development partners.
Dr. Labaran noted that the role of media in achieving interventions in the fight against diphtheria cannot be overemphasized, soliciting the participants to cooperate and join hands with the present administration and partners to bring diphtheria to its knees by providing credible and accurate information.
He extolled Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf for his commitment to supporting various interventions on health that are aimed at keeping the good people of the state in a good and favourable condition of health.
The Commissioner, who also lauded the Governor for his dexterity in turning around the entire healthcare system of the state to greater heights, stressed that the objective of the workshop is to further enlighten and educate the public on major symptoms of diphtheria through various radio programs so that they report themselves to the nearest health facility upon observing any.
Represented by the State Health Educator, Shehu Dabo, Dr. Labaran acknowledged that radio is the easiest and simplest medium of reaching millions of people at once, optimistically assuring that the participants, at the end of the workshop, would understand the significance of the information they are going to convey to the public regarding diphtheria.
The Commissioner enjoined them to invite only the deserving professionals who have adequate prerequisite knowledge on diphtheria for discussion to avoid misleading information that may hamper the fight against the disease because Kano is the worst diphtheria-hit state in the whole country.
Also speaking, the Breakthrough Action Nigeria State Team Leader, Ahmad Mu’az, said BAN offers intervention on maternal, newborn, and child health, family planning, nutrition, malaria, TB, COVID-19, etc with local, state, and national as its areas of coverage.
He added that BAN provides support to outbreak response at both national and subnational levels, working collaboratively with government, donor agencies, and implementing partners, adding that they are currently providing risk communication and community engagement support to diphtheria outbreak at the national level with subnational support to Kano and Bauchi states.