By Sola Ogundipe
NIGERIA has reiterated her commitment towards ending the scourge of Neglected Tropical Diseases, NTDs, by developing an integrated multi-year national plan for the control and elimination of the NTDs in the country.
The plan which will serve as blueprint for massive scale up of activities for the elimination of several NTDs by 2020 is to be
launched on 7th February, 2013.
In a statement presented in London in line with the Multi-Year Plan for NTDs in Nigeria, Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu recalled that the plan was developed with support from the World Health Organization African Regional Office.
He reiterated achievements such as elimination of guinea worm, maintenance of four consecutive years of zero-case reporting, interruption of onchocerciasis transmission, interruption of lymphatic filariasis transmission iand achievement of the WHO elimination target of less than 1 case per 10,000 population for leprosy with successful multi-drug therapy (MDT) since 1996.
“These indicate commitment by the government of Nigeria to increase momentum in action for the control and elimination of NTDs in the country and also part of the follow up from the London declaration which affirms the commitment of the global community to the elimination of neglected tropical diseases worldwide,” he asserted.
Already, several partners including DFID and USAID have signified their interests in assisting Nigeria scale up interventions in line with the government’s NTD plan. These partners will complement local resources from government and the private sector.
Of the 17 NTDs recognised by WHO, 13 parasitic and bacterial infections which make up the NTDs, have been found to be most common in Nigeria.
They include Soil Transmitted Helminthes, lymphatic ﬁlariasis, onchocerciasis, dracunculiasis, and schistosomiasis. Others are Dengue fever, Human African Trypanosomiasis, Buruli ulcer, Leprosy and Trachoma.
Nigeria has the greatest number of lymphatic filariasis and river blindness cases among all African nations and largest number of schistosomiasis cases globally.