Ahead of the 2022 World Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) Day, the Federal Government says it is reviewing existing studies, campaigns, WASH and NTDs analysis in the country.
The Minister of State for Health, Adeleke Mamorah, spoke with reporters at a programme in commemoration of the 2022 World NTDs Day on Friday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that World NTDs Day is marked annually on January 30.
It is an opportunity to re-energise the drive to end the suffering from the 20 NTDs that are caused by a variety of pathogens including viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungi and toxins
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), NTDs are widespread in the world’s poorest regions, where water safety, sanitation and access to health care are substandard.
NTDs affect over oneity and disfigurement and result in stigma, social exclusion, school absenteeism and lost productivity.
According to Mr Mamora, the control and elimination of the NTDs in the country will contribute significantly toward the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 3) especially Goal 3.
”Therefore, all hands must be on deck to achieve this target,’’ he said
The minister confirmed that NTDs are a group of diseases associated with poverty and prevalent in areas that have poor sanitation, poor safe water supply and substandard housing conditions.
“The diseases are `neglected’ because they are almost absent from the global health agenda, enjoy little funding, and are associated with stigma and social exclusion.
“They are diseases of neglected populations that perpetuate a cycle of poor educational outcomes and limited professional opportunities.
“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.
“In June 2017, snakebite was included among NTDs by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“Most of these diseases are of public health importance in Nigeria and impact negatively on socio-economic development,’’ he said.
Mr Mamora said that the burden of NTDs was enormous, affecting no fewer than one billion people globally across 149 countries, with Africa bearing about half of the global burden.
Nigeria contributes substantially to the Africa NTDs’ burden with no fewer than 120 million of its people living at risk of one Neglected Tropical Disease or the other.
He said, ”Aside from Nigeria, NTDs are found in several countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
“They are especially common in tropical areas where people do not have access to clean water or safe ways to dispose of human waste.
“Consequently, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) is an essential strategy of NTDs control and elimination globally which must be promoted in Nigeria.
“The purpose of the World NTDs Day is to create global and national awareness.
“To mobilise 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.’’
Earlier, the World Health Organisation Country Representative in Nigeria, Walter Mulombo, said that Nigeria remains important in the global NTDs eradication road map.
“Nigeria had made significant progress in the treatment and control of NTDs.
“This year’s theme is “Achieving Health Equity to End the Neglect of Poverty Related Diseases” and there is the need for increased collaboration by all stakeholders,’’ he said.
Mr Mulombo said that in Nigeria, more than one million new cases of Neglected Tropical Dseases are still being detected yearly while around 50 million persons are at risk of infection yearly.
“Health inequities triggered by COVID-19 have undermined economic, societal, and developmental progress. Focusing on NTDs provides a step forward in addressing diseases of poverty.
“The NTD programmes contribute to stronger health systems by enhancing capacity, bringing communities together and contributing to universal health coverage.
“Young people’s voice and commitment are critical to advocating for and to supporting NTD programmes and policies. This will ensure future generations, free of NTDs,’’ Mr Mulombo said.
According to him, the WHO in collaboration with other key partners, can step-up action to support the Federal Ministry of Health.
This is to mobilise the needed domestic and international resources required for the control, elimination and eradication of NTDs in the country.
“I want to encourage individuals, communities, and local governments to encourage surveillance, testing and treatment for NTD and to learn more about.
Meanwhile, the National Programme Coordinator of Health Care and Empowerment Foundation, Osagie Omoregie, said that Nigeria is endemic as 14 out of the 20 existing NTDs are recorded in the country.
Mrs Omoregie said that Nigeria needs more funding to tackle the menace.
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