Aniekeme Uwah, a medical doctor and the Akwa Ibom coordinator of the Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) has called on corporate organisations and individuals to support the government’s efforts to eliminate the diseases in some parts of the state.
Mr Uwah made the call on Monday in Uyo, while speaking with reporters on the World NTDs Day, which is celebrated every January 30.
Mr Uwah said the diseases were prevalent in many rural communities in the state.
He appealed to politicians, philanthropists and well-meaning Akwa Ibom people to collaborate with the state government to stamp out the diseases.
He listed the diseases to include Onchocerciasis (River blindness) with blackfly as vector and prevalent in four local government areas and Soil Transmitted Helminthiasis, commonly known as intestinal worms, prevalent in all the 31 local government areas.
He also identified Schistosomiasis, commonly called snail fever with water snails as vector, as prevalent in Udung Uko Local Government Area.
Mr Uwah further said that Lymphatic filariasis, commonly called elephantiasis, with mosquito as vector, is common in 11 local government areas.
“These four diseases are commonly found in tropical and sub-tropical parts of the world.
“They are closely associated with poverty, poor housing, poor access to potable water, poor access to healthcare.
“They are not really reported, probably because they don’t kill as fast as other diseases, like HIV, COVID-19 and the rest.
“And, apart from that, probably because they affect the world’s poorest, they don’t get the kind of attention they should.
“But, unfortunately, these disease conditions are affecting our people and are endemic in the state.
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“We have high morbidity even though the mortality is relatively low but they make our people not to live optimally and fulfill their destinies.
“Most times we drive on the streets and see people with swollen legs or you go to the communities and see people with swollen scrotum.
“We also have some, which lead to people having rashes on their skin, which you treat and treat and they just don’t heal and it also leads to blindness.
Mr Uwah regretted that in spite of the ravaging effect of the diseases on the people, there were no known intervention measures for free treatment for the sufferers.
He, therefore, called on the media to assist in sensitising those living with the diseases to “come out and access medical treatment as part of measures to eliminate the ailment”.
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