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Don identifies factors causing spread of NTDs

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TUNDE ADELEKE, Osogbo

The Group Leader, Bacteriology Unit, Center for Emerging and Reemerging Infectious Diseases, College of Health Sciences, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, Oyo State, Prof. Adekunle Olowe, has identified limited access to healthcare as one of the factors enabling the spread of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in Nigeria.

Olowe in a statement obtained by journalists in Osogbo on Tuesday, described NTDs as a group of infectious diseases that disproportionately affect the world’s poorest populations, causing significant morbidity and mortality.

The University don, further noted that lack of awareness and inadequate knowledge about the diseases were also contributing to the spread of the diseases among Nigerians, adding that mosquitoes and black flies are notable facilitators of NTD’s transmission.

Speaking further, Olowe said: “The control of NTDs in Nigeria is hindered by several factors, including: limited access to healthcare, Poverty and socioeconomic factors, Lack of awareness and education Inadequate health infrastructure, climate, and environmental factors, coupled with Nigeria’s tropical climate and the presence of vectors like mosquitoes and blackflies.

According to him, NTDs pose a substantial public health challenge due to their prevalence and impact on affected communities, listing Lymphatic Filariasis (Elephantiasis), Onchocerciasis (River Blindness), Schistosomiasis (Bilharzia), Soil-Transmitted Helminthiases (STH), Human African Trypanosomiasis (Sleeping Sickness), and Trachoma, among others, as key NTDs common in Nigeria.

Proferring solutions, Olowe urged all tiers of government to strengthen the health systems, implement integrated disease management programmes and enhance community engagement and education.

He also called for improved water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), commencement of vector control measures, investment in research and development, promotion of policy and advocacy, fostering of partnerships, as well as collaborations in addressing NTDs prevalence in the country.

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