Amid the most severe diphtheria outbreak in recent global history, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Nigeria is sounding the alarm about the urgent need for widespread vaccination.

UNICEF in a statement today said it is providing urgent support to the Nigerian government in its efforts to combat the outbreak.

The outbreak has so far resulted in 11,587 suspected cases, 7,202 cases across 105 local government areas in 17 states and the Federal Capital Territory, mostly among children.

A total of 453 deaths have occurred in confirmed cases, giving a case fatality rate of 6.3 per cent.

Most cases are children aged between four to fifteen years who have not received even a single dose of the vital vaccine, laying bare the urgency of the vaccination situation in Nigeria.

It added that to respond effectively to the outbreak, UNICEF Nigeria said it needs to raise an additional 3.3 million dollars by the end of the year.

UNICEF Representative, Dr. Rownak Khan noted that the devastating impact of diphtheria outbreak is a grim reminder of the importance of vaccination.