As the world celebrates 2023 International Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) day, a call has gone to a non-governmental organisation, private sectors and philanthropists to join hands with the Kwara State Government towards eliminating the NTDs and other diseases of Public health concerns.
Raji Razaq, the Kwara State commissioner for Health gave the call in a media engagement to commemorate the year 2023 NTDs Day’ held in his office, Ilorin Kwara State.
He explained that NTDs are the name for another ongoing global public health epidemic affecting more than one billion individuals worldwide.
The diseases according to him are caused by a variety of pathogens like viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and parasitic worms (helminths).
Razaq, who stated that this year’s theme “Act Now, Act Together, Invest in NTDs” is apt and timely, noted that “currently, there are 20 diseases defined as NTDs amongst which we have River-Blindness, Elephantiasis, Schistosomiasis, Leprosy, Soil-Transmitted Helminths, Buruli Ulcer, Rabies, Snakebite Envenoming, Trypanosomiasis etc.
“Each of these diseases are associated with significant morbidity and mortality and poses overwhelming loss to the economy, with associated social stigma and discrimination.”
He disclosed that the Ministry with the support of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq have successfully trained 4,900 Community Directed Distributors (CDDs) and 900 Community Health workers who involved in the treatment of 2,403,831 Kwarans with Ivermectin and Albendazole medicines to prevent River blindness and Lymphatic Filariasis.”
Earlier, Habeeb Lawal, Deputy Director of Public Health Provider said having received adequate support from the government, they are making progress in addressing health issues in the state.
Similarly, Bamigboye Yemisi, the state Coordinator for NTDs, noted that the body had been sensitising the general public to be aware and as well prevent themselves from contracting the diseases.
In his submission, Ajayi Olalekan, Sight Saver program manager, seeks for more investment and collaboration with the ministry so as to eliminate NTDs.
Also, the Ondo State Government says it has started the building special NTDs clinic to tackle the menace of the diseases in the state.
Francis Akanbiemu, permanent secretary of the State Primary Healthcare Development Agency stated this on Monday during a media advocacy on NTDS in Akure.
Akanbiemu said that government was working assiduously to complete the special clinic by June 2023.
He said that the clinic, when completed, would allow those infected with NTDs to receive healthcare services, adding that the clinic would be the first of its kind in Nigeria.
The permanent secretary said that the clinic would partner with some teaching hospitals for appropriate diagnosis and adequate treatment of NTDs.
He described NTDs as devastating diseases which many people were not paying attention to, adding patients usually suffered from emotional trauma.
Akanbiemu said that government was collaborating with the media to inform residents of the state that they should seek medical services in health facilities nearest to them when going through any health challenge.
According to him, all hands must be on deck to address NTDs because of the dangers they constitute in society.
Also speaking, the NTDs Coordinator in the state, Mrs Olufunke Ajomole, said that out of 20 NTDs, only five were found in the state.
She said that the media advocacy was to create awareness and inform the people of the state that anyone with such diseases would be treated free.
Ajomole explained that drugs were available in all the 18 local government areas of the state which, she said, would be taken once in a year.
The state coordinator asked residents of the state to ensure cleanliness of their environment and strict observance of personal hygiene.
In his remarks, the representative of World Health Organisation (WHO), Davis Dele, said that the organisation would continue to support the state government in tackling NTDs.
Dele described Ondo as a pacesetter state in responding to the health concern of its citizens and addressing the dangers of NTDs.