Stakeholders calls for increased contribution to combat NTDs
Stakeholders have called on philanthropists to contribute funds toward the elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) to enable the country meet the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target. The stakeholders made the call at a meeting for local resourcing for the elimination of NTDs in Abuja, as part of activities to mark Sightsavers 70 years of progress globally.
NTDs are a diverse group of 20 conditions that are mainly prevalent in tropical areas, where they affect more
than one billion people who live in impoverished communities. They are caused by a variety of pathogens including viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungi and toxins. The most notable NTDs include schistosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, and trachoma.
Dr Chukwuma Anyaike, the Director, Public Health Department, Federal Ministry of Health, said more funds would
aide in eliminating the disease, improve health status and prevent mortality and morbidity in the country.
Anyaike also stressed the importance of data, which he said would help in planning and monitoring progress made in the elimination of NTDs in the country.
He added that “we need accurate data because information is powerful to enable us know the burden of the diseases in our communities. We need to have an investment case and inter-sectoral collaboration to address these diseases. We should also plan on our budget for next year by coming up with data to propel allocation toward the elimination of NTDs.”
Also, Dr Fatai Oyediran, the NTDs National Coordinator, Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH), said strategies were already in place to mobilise funding from local resources to eliminate NTDs in the country.
Oyediran, therefore, called on philanthropists like Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Femi Otedola, Emeka Offor, T Y Danjuma and others to support government in eliminating the diseases.
Prof. Uche Amazigo, Professor of Medical Parasitology and a renowned public health specialist, said NTDs affects around one billion people globally, including 600 million in Africa.Amazigo, who listed some NTDs to include river blindness and soil transmitted helminths, stressed the need to showcase incidences of persons affected by such diseases to encourage commitment toward prioritising NTDs elimination.
She also encouraged experts and relevant stakeholders to use local languages and names in communicating with local communities to enable them to identify and understand better.
The Country Representative of Sightsavers, Mr Sunday Isiyaku, said the organisation has made remarkable progress in NTDs elimination, improving eye health and boosting disability rights in the country.
The sightsavers is an international charity working to prevent avoidable blindness, support equality for people with disabilities and advocate for change.
The country representative said “we are committed to a future where people are no longer at risk from NTDs, everyone has access to quality eye care, and people with disabilities can thrive in an inclusive society. I am proud of what has been achieved over the past seven decades. So many lives have been transformed by the work to improve eye health, eliminate diseases and boost disability rights.“Sightsavers plans to commit over five million dollars for trachoma elimination in Nigeria through to 2030, which we aim to secure through public fundraising.”
On her part, Carolyn Harper, Sightsavers Chief Executive Officer, commended government and stakeholders for their support to the organisation in implementing programes in the country.