…As UNICEF Charges Newsmen On Agenda Setting For NTDs
The Federal Government had wanted to eliminate the fifteen Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) under Vision 2020, but they were unable to meet this target.
However, projected that Nigeria would accomplish the new vision of eliminating all Neglected Tropical Diseases by 2030, saying, only Guinea worm had been eradicated in 2013.
Dr Nse Akpan, National Coordinator, Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) Control, Elimination, and Eradication Programme, spoke on the topic: Eliminating Neglected Tropical Diseases -Challenges and Prospects at a Two Day Media dialogue, organized by UNICEF, hinted that only Guinea worm was eradicated in 2013, however, the five primary NTDs being targeted in Nigeria must be eliminated as well.
He estimated that about 122 million people in Nigeria are at risk of one or more of these Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). This is to say that 2 out of every 3 Nigerians are affected by one or more of these NTDs.
Of this number, 20% are pre school age children, 28% are school age children (5-14years) and 52% are adults (15years and above).
His words , “NTDs pose devastating obstacle to the attainment of Universal Health Coverage (UHC). Nigeria wants to control, eliminate and eradicate NTDs through reduction of morbidity, and mortality rates to increase barest minimum and wants to ensure break or reduction of transmission of NTDs through mass drug administration and environmental control.
“Neglected Tropical Diseases are group of preventable and treatable diseases that could be caused by viruses, bacteria, protozoa that affect 1.5 billion people, 40% of whom live in Africa.
“The disease affect the poorest, most vulnerable people who live in hard to reach Parr of Africa.
“They disfigure, disable, keep children out of school and parents out of work limiting their potentials and leave communities stuck in poverty.
“For some of these diseases, the following population have been found to be at risk in Nigeria
119.8million people for lymphatic Filasriasis , 54. 4million people people for onchocerciasis, 28.8million school age children and and 20.5 million pre-school age children for soil-transmitted helmithiasis; 26.8 million people for trachoma and 23.8 million school age children for schistosomiasis.”
He further stated that, NTDs cause end-organ damages due to chronic infections., it significantly impact on maternal, newborn and child health, poor health among women from anemia to STH infections.
In his remarks , the UNICEF Communication Specialist, Dr. Geoffrey Njoku urged journalists to tell the stories of Neglected Tropical Diseases around the issues, actions and impact.
He also charged media to set agenda for NTDs.