Our land soaked in blood, gloom, South-East Bishops wail

By Joseph Erunke

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This came as the government identified the burden of NTDs as enormous, saying the disease was affecting more than one billion people globally across 149 countries with Africa bearing about half of the global burden.

Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunimbe Mamora, speaking Friday, at a press conference held to mark the 3rd World NTD celebration in Nigeria, said
Nigeria was contributing substantially to the Africa NTDs’ burden with more than 120 million of its people living at risk of one Neglected Tropical Disease or the other.

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Mamora, who said NTDs were found in several countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, explained that the disease was common in tropical areas where people do not have access to clean water or safe ways to dispose of human waste.

Recall that NTDs include diseases such as Lymphatic Filariasis, Onchocerciasis, Schistosomiasis, Soil-Transmitted Helminthes, Buruli Ulcers, ,Leisnmaniasis, Dengue, Guinea Worm Disease, Trachoma, Leprosy, Rabies, Noma, Yaws and Macetoma.

Recall also that in June 2017,snakebite was included among NTDs by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Most of these diseases are of public health importance in Nigeria and impact negatively on socio-economic development.

According to Mamora,”The purpose of the World NTDs Day is to create global and national awareness to mobilize resources to address the magnitude of NTDs concerns, provide opportunities for stakeholders to highlight the progress made, challenges encountered and advocate for support for the prevention, control and elimination effort in the fight against NTDs in Nigeria.”

“The theme of the campaign for 2022 World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day (WNTDD) is: “Achieving health equity to end the neglect of poverty-related diseases” could not have come at a better and more appropriate time than now when WHO is organizing a virtual event calling on everyone to address the inequalities that characterize NTDs,”he added.

“The WNTDD is an opportunity to re-energize the momentum to end the suffering from these 20 diseases that are caused by a variety of pathogens including viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungi and toxins. The day will help us focus on millions of people who have limited or no access to prevention, treatment and care services.

“The recent roll out of the ten years NTDs road map for the period of 2021-2030 by the World Health Organization (WHO) on the 28″ of January 2021 which proposed ambitious targets and innovative approaches towards tackling NTDs provides a clear blueprint and direction towards NTDs elimination globally”.

“The plan promotes working across NTDs in an integrated manner to deliver programme objectives of interrupting and eliminating NTDs with emphasis on three significant approaches: moving from process to impact measuring for accountability, putting in place effective multi-sectoral approach/integration across NTDs, countries ownership and political commitment for sustainability. In line with that, Nigeria is currently reviewing her NTDs Master Plan to guide all stakeholders and Partners,”he further said.

He said Nigeria “supports efforts by the International NGO, United to Combat NTD team to engage with disease endemic countries, stakeholders and partners to contribute to the development of Kigali Declaration on NTDs which proves government’
s collective commitments in the spirit of true partnership of countries to the ownership of this important document in consonance with the WHO road map.”

“It is imperative for me to thank the Executive Director of UTC NTDs and her team for her leadership in advancing the NTDs campaign across the globe as well as our own Sen. Dr. Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, her Nigeria counterpart in this regard. Permit me to assure you that Nigeria remains committed to working with you and the Task Team in delivering this ‘’Kigali Declaration on NTDs’’ document”,he said.

Mamora also disclosed that FMOH has been collaborating and working with all relevant stakeholders particularly our Non-Governmental Development Organizations (NGDO) partners to tackle the menace of NTDs in Nigeria.

He spoke further:”I am particularly glad to report that substantial progress has been made over the last decade as evidenced by the fact that we have been able fo eradicate Guineaworm Disease, eliminated transmission of Onchocerciasis in Plateau and Nasarawa States and very soon some other states will be free of the disease. Other achievemenis by the ministry include:

“Guinea worm Elimination had been achieved in December 2013, on the recommendation of the WHO certification commission whereby Nigeria was declared free of guinea-worm disease”.

“Elimination of Onchocerciasis in Nassarawa and Plateau has been achieved. This was confirmed through entomological studies conducted in the above mentioned state in 2019. While we are approaching elimination phase in Kaduna, Kebbi and Zamfara States”.

“The Programme also conducted epidemiological mapping on the preventable NTDs in all the 774 LGAs in the couniry”.

“Conduct Mass Administration of Medicine on School based/ Community deworming programme and also Mass Drugs Administration on Lymphatic Filariasis, Schistosomiasis in the country”.

“Out of 122 endemic LGAs for Trachoma in the country, 96 LGAs have attained elimination threshold for the active stage of the disease while 61 LGAs have attained elimination threshold for the blinding stage of the disease. This has reduced the prevalence of Trachoma to about 6.9 million (79%) Entomological survey 2017 conducted”.

“On innovative management of NIDs, The programme has been able to develop a National Policy document on Snakebite management along with procurement of Anti-Snake venom (ASV) and distributed to designated Health Facility centres in six (6) geo political zone”.

“Yaws case search was conducted in 3 communities in Plateau and Nassarawa States with over 40 cases isolated”.

“The programme was operating on paper based reporting system but currently there is a training going on to strengthen M&E Unit to migrate from paper base of data to electronic reporting system using DHIS 2.0”

“The programme also develop and train officers on the use of Logistics Management Information System (LMIS) tool to monitor drug distribution, consumption and report adverse effect of those drugs on pharmacovigilance forms in line with NAFDAC policy”.

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