122M Nigerians Suffer from Neglected Tropical Diseases

National Coordinator, Neglected Tropical Disease,(NTD) Elimination  Program, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Nsebong Akpan said the federal government is collaborating with the Christian Blind Mission, CBM to eliminate Neglected Tropical Diseases.

NTDs are found in several countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. NTDs are especially common in tropical areas or subtropical regions where people do not have access to clean water or safe ways to dispose of human waste.

Examples are Dracunculiasis (Guinea Worm Disease), Lymphatic Filariasis, Onchocerciasis, Schistosomiasis, Soil-transmitted Helminths (i.e., Ascaris, Hookworm, and Whipworm), Trachoma

This he said was important in view of the record that about one hundred and twenty-two million Nigerians are suffering from these diseases

“a great number of Nigerians have these diseases but they are not cognizant of them, It is hoped that the country will eliminate the disease in less than ten years It takes teamwork to do this and everyone has a role to play”

Dr Akpan noted that those mainly affected are the poor and downtrodden, those living in rural communities, slums and shanties as well as those who practice open defecation.

Statistics show that about fifty-two point seven million people are at risk of Onchocerciasis or River Blindness while an estimated one point three six million people are at risk of Lymphatic Filariasis in Nigeria.

Although some states have made significant progress in the control of Onchocerciasis, Lymphatic Filariasis, Schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminth infections and trachoma, some states are still lagging behind.

In a bid to eliminate these diseases in four states of  Oyo, Ogun, Rivers and Bayelsa, the federal government formally launched the “Accelerating Onchocerciasis and Filariasis Elimination in Nigeria Project in Ibadan, Oyo State in support of the Christian Blind Mission, CBM.

Apart from preventing these diseases as a public health problem, the project is also aimed at scaling up plans to meet the 2030 target stipulated by the World Health Organization, WHO, for disease elimination milestones.

In a remark Director, Inclusive Eye Health and NTDs at CBM, Dr Babar Qureshi promised that the mission will continue to work until everyone was protected against these diseases.

CBM is an international development organization working to transform the lives of people with disabilities.

Anthonia Akanji

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