The Ogun state Government has joined the rest of the world to celebrate the World Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) Day for the year 2021, calling on stakeholders to increase the level of awareness for the diseases.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Tomi Coker, while addressing a press conference as part of activities to commemorate the day, said (NTDs) are caused by parasites and bacteria, which are mainly associated with poverty and common in environments with poor hygiene, inadequate or lack of portable water supplies and poor living conditions.
She said Nigeria is Africa’s most affected country with about 25% of total cases of NTDs in the continent, adding that 80% of the population of Ogun State is at risk of at least two of the diseases.
According to her, “It is noteworthy that each LGA in the state is endemic for one or more NTDs, particularly Abeokuta North and Odeda local government areas which are with the highest prevalence of Schistosomiasis in Nigeria according to a recent Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Similarly, 1.4 Million School-age children are at risk of Schistosomiasis and Soil-Transmitted Helminthiasis in the State”
The Commissioner disclosed that the consequences of NTDs include a varying degree of disabilities, stigmatization, and far reaching socio-economic impact on persons affected and their communities, saying the diseases are preventable and curable.
Coker said the State Government has contributed to a massive reduction of NTDs in the State through its yearly school-based deworming exercise and community-based treatment exercise across the endemic local government areas.
“Since 90% of Neglected Tropical Diseases are hygiene related diseases, Ogun State Ministry of Health has trained Community Mobilizers to sensitize 1620 Households on Hygiene Promotion as well as distribute hand washing buckets, soaps and face masks to 423 health facilities in 9 LGAs of the State, thus integrating NTD eradication into our Covid-19 response, and building sustainable health practices at the community level to ensure a healthier Ogun state overall
“In addition the federal ministry of Water Resources in collaboration with the State Ministry of Rural Development through the Water Sanitation and Hygiene Programme has implemented 157 water supply projects in 8 LGAs. This will go a long way in helping us reduce the burden of NTDs in our state”, she said.
The Commissioner therefore, called on all stakeholders including policy makers, religious leaders, the media, school administrators, traditional leaders, parents, school administrators and other well-meaning residents to take action in ending the neglect for NTDs, adding that this will lead to elimination of the diseases in the State in the nearest future.