…..as report says Nigeria stops river blindness treatment for over 20m persons.
By AKOR SYLVESTER-Abuja
No Nigerian child is totally free from the infection of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) if ongoing efforts by government and partners to tame the trend are not sustained, the Federal Capital Territory ( FCT) Coordinator of NTDS, Dr Ogundipe Eunice, has said
The FCT coordinator who spoke in an interview at the Federal Ministry of Health with all her implementation partners NTDs Day Outreach at the LEA Primary School, City Gate, Durumi, Abuja yesterday, said NTDs have, in the past affected a lot of Nigerians, a situation, she said made federal government and partners to redouble efforts in tackling the scourge.
She called on all Nigerians and relevant stakeholders to join hands with government in the campaign against neglected tropical diseases in the country.
The Coordinator who said the programme at the primary school was to sensitise children on the harmful effects of the diseases, and the need to be cautious of the environment they live, noted that the target audience were pupils of the age of 5 and above to those at the junior secondary school level.
The event which saw many pupils taking worm medicine from experts amongst the organisers, was attended by all the wards, teachers, guidance of the schools.
Dr. Ogundipe expressed satisfaction at the feat achieved in the sensitisation, saying government was ready to fight the diseases to a finish.
Meanwhile the report released at the event by the Department of Public Health of the Federal Ministry of Health, said Nigeria has created record with its decision that freed nearly 18.9 million people from river blindness
According to the report: “This is the largest one-time achievement for river blindness globally. Overall, Nigeria has stopped river blindness treatment for over 28 million persons in ten states, more than any other country in the world.
” Nigeria continues to register success in the fight against river blindness (onchocerciasis), parasitic disease affecting 32 stares and the FCT .
“Historically, more Nigerians are at risk for river blindness than in any other nation. The disease is caused by a worm parasite (onchocerca volvulus) that is transmitted by the bites of small black fly vectors that breed in rapidly flowering rivers and streams”, part of the report said.
.The ministry further commended the support of its partners, including Amen Health Care and Empowerment Foundation, UNICEF, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Christoffel Blinden Mission , US centres for Disease Control and Prevention , the END Fund, Health and Development Support Programme, Helen Keller International, Merck & Co Inc.and the Mectizan Donation Programme, WHO, USAID and others.
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