Nigeria reviews Neglected Tropical Disease Master plan 2022-2026
By Chioma Eche, Abuja
The National Coordinator of Neglected Tropical Diseases, Federal Ministry of Health, Mr. Nse Akpan, has called for a holistic collaboration to ensure the rapid elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases in Nigeria.
Mr. Akpan said that the successful implementation of the plan would rely on strong political commitments and partnership supports at all levels to overcome the global impact of the disease.
Mr. Akpan stated this in Abuja, at the lunched of the country’s 2022-2030 NTD Master plan in ending the neglect to attain the World Health Organization, WHO Sustainable Development Goals, before the year 2030.
According to him, ”Nigeria is still confronted by the challenges posed by 15 out of the 20 Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) listed by the WHO.”
Poor culture of Water Sanitation
He linked the development of the Diseases to the poor culture of Water Sanitation and Hygiene, WASH, which is practised among many communities across the country.
Mr. Akpan said; “I wish to call on all participants, NGOs partner, the UN Agencies, and other organisations to give the development of this Master plan the full complement of support.”
Also, the Coordinator of the National Deworming Programme at the Federal Ministry of Health in Nigeria, Dr. Nebe Obiageli, has called on Stakeholders in the Health sector to join forces in eradicating Neglected Tropical Diseases, which she said threaten the health of over 100m Nigerians.
She said; ”the 2022-2026 Master plan review is a welcome development” as the blueprint that will give us the direction, and guidance, we cannot be running a national agenda without having a blueprint.
“We appreciate the support of all the stakeholders”
“I know that WHO has set the stage by the lunch of a Road map and we will seek the support of every stakeholder to this,” she stressed.
Similarly, representative of the WHO and NTD focal point, Aliyu Suleiman emphasised on development of a more objective document that would enable States in Nigeria, to draft their Master plan that would accelerate the eradication of Neglected Tropical Diseases in the country.
The Regional Coordinator of the North-West on Neglected Tropical Diseases, Mr. Gambo Yakubu, however, disclosed that most States in the Northwestern region of Nigeria, especially Kaduna State had recorded tremendous success in eradicating the tropical diseases.
Mr. Yakubu said so far, 16 local government has recorded success story in the eradication of Neglected Tropical Diseases, therefore appealing for more funding for the NTD eradicating project from the government.
The Neglected Tropical Diseases, NTD Master plan workshop featured Award presentations to deserving States such as Kaduna, Oyo States respectively, and many others.
Neglected Tropical Diseases
Described as Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) by the Global Health Body, they are viral, parasitic, and bacterial diseases that mainly affect the world’s poorest people.
The Neglected Tropical Diseases 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.
They are also regarded as a diverse group of communicable diseases that prevail in tropical and subtropical conditions in about 149 countries globally– and affect more than one billion people across the world.
So far, 15 of these diseases are identified in Nigeria and findings have revealed that one of them, Guinea worm, has since been eliminated.
Health Expert, however, listed the diseases to include; Lymphatic Filariasis (Elephantiasis), Soil Transmitted Helminthiasis (STH), Onchocerciasis (River blindness), Trachoma (Granular Conjunctivitis), and Schistosomiasis (Bilharzia).
Meanwhile, in January 2021, the WHO said; ‘‘it has rolled out a 10-year roadmap for NTDs, which it claims proposes ambitious targets and innovative approaches to tackling the diseases.”
The International Health Agency said the move was geared towards the quest to attain the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.