By Hassan Zaggi
Nigeria needs the sum of N154 billion to eradicate Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) out of the country in the next few years, an expert has revealed.
The Director and National Coordinator, Neglected Tropical Diseases Elimination Programme, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Chukwuma Anyaike, disclosed this at a two-day media dialogue on NTDs control in Nigeria in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital.
The dialogue was organised by the Child Rights Information Bureau (CRIB) of the Federal Ministry of Information & Culture in collaboration with the United Nation Children Fund (UNICEF).
Dr. Anyaike explained that NTDs are a group of preventable and treatable diseases that could be caused by viruses, bacteria, protozoa.
The disease, according to him, aﬀect 1.5 billion people globally – 40% of whom live in Africa and that it aﬀects the poorest, most vulnerable people who live in hard to reach parts of Africa.
While saying that all states in Nigeria are endemic for one or more of these NTDs, the expert revealed that NTDs include Onchocerciasis (River Blindness), Lymphatic Filariasis, Schistosomiasis, Soil-transmitted Helminthiasis, Trachoma and many others.
According to him: “It is estimated that 122 million persons (that is 2 out of every 3 Nigerians) are at risk of one of these NTDs. Of this number, 20 per cent are pre-school age children, 28 per cent school age children (5-14 years) and 52 per cent are adults (15 years and above).”
He further explained that 119.8 million Nigerians are at risk of Lymphatic Filiriasis, 51.4 million people at risk of the Onchocerciasis, 28.8 million school age children and 20.5 million pre-school age children are at risk of soil-transmitted helminths, 26.8 million people at risk of trachoma and 23.8 million school age children are at risk of schistosomiasis.
Speaking on the impacts of the NTDs, the expert said: “NTDs cause end-organ damages due to chronic infections, significant impact on maternal, newborn, and child health, causes poor nutritional status, especially in children; poor educational outcomes, low productivity, pose a devastating obstacle to attainment of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and NTDs negatively impact economic growth, social development and poverty reduction initiatives.
On achievements so far recorded, he disclosed that Trachoma transmission has been interrupted in 84 LGAs out of 122 LGAs in 10 States (Edo, Ebonyi, Jigawa, Katsina, Kano, Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau, Sokoto and Zamfara)
“About 85,775 cases of Trachomatous Trichiasis surgeries conducted from inception of the programme till date.
“Over 26,000 cases of trichiasis were managed in 2019. More than 700 million donated medicines used annually, worth trillions of naira in production, shipping and other logistics.
“Over 200 million cumulative treatments achieved in 2019 and strengthening of the NTD Supply Chain Management (SCM) and development of LMIS tools,” he said.