Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency (BSPHCDA) has commemorated this year’s World Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) Day with a call on the citizens of the state to keep their environment clean as a major precaution against NTDs.
The call was made by the Executive Chairman of BASPHCDA, Dr Rilwanu Mohammed while briefing newsmen on the commemoration of the 2021 NTD held at the agency headquarters.
Albarka Radio health correspondent reports that 15 of the 20 NTDs recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) have their abode in Nigeria. Notable ones include; Blinding Trachoma, Buruli ulcer, Human African Trypanosomiasis, Dengue fever, Schistosomiasis, Lymphatic Filariasis, Onchocerciasis, Leprosy and Soil-transmitted helminths.
Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) threaten more than 1.5 billion people living in the poorest and most marginalized communities worldwide. These diseases blind, disable and disfigure people, taking away not only their health, but also their chances of staying in school, earning a living, or even being accepted by their family or community.
Briefing newsmen in his office Dr. Rilwanu Mohammed said that the world over, mostly tropical environment in communities with poor sanitation and lack of potable water, over 1 billion people are suffering from the NTDs while in Bauchi state, the number is over 1 million.
While listing some of the NTDs to include: Onchocerciasis, lymphatic filariasis, soil-transmitted helminths, trachoma, schistosomiasis, Buruli ulcer, snake bite, leprosy, human African trypanosomiasis, Guinea worm, yaws and loiasis, he said that with good sanitation and proper hygiene, the diseases can be checked.
He pointed out that as of now, Bauchi State has onchocerciasis in 12 LGAs; Lymphatic filariasis in 11 LGAs; Schistosomiasis in 16 LGAs, Trachoma in 2 LGAs while Guinea worm has already been eradicated in Nigeria as a whole.
At the event organized by the Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency and an NGO Mission To Save The Helpless MITOSATH, NTDs State Coordinator, Nasiru Haruna Baba said the essence of the event was to sensitize people on preventive measures against the diseases.
He noted that nineteen out of twenty local government areas of the state were hit by different forms of the diseases.
In her remark, the North-East Zonal Coordinator of NTDs, Hauwa Abubakar, stated that No fewer than 987,635 persons have been treated for Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in Bauchi state in the year 2021.
She said that treatment was carried out in five LGAs of the state which are: Kirfi, Bogoro, Warji, Toro and Giade, adding that the target audience for the treatment are mostly children above five years considering that they are the most vulnerable to the diseases.
Hauwa Abubakar also said that a dirty environment is an additional cause of the diseases lamenting that a filthy atmosphere normally aggravates such situations because according to her, people feel comfortable in a filthy environment thereby causing problems for themselves.
In a goodwill message, the Executive Director of the NGO, Mission To Save the Helpless (MITOSATH), Dr Francisca Olamiju said that One of the main goals of the international NTD day celebration is to raise awareness about NTDs worldwide and to remind us that there is still work to be done in the elimination of NTDs.
Represented by Bauchi state Coordinator of MITOSATH, Esther Ijeoma, the ED encouraged all stakeholders not to relent in the fight to end the neglect saying that the theme of this year’s World NTD day is ‘ACHIEVING HEALTH EQUITY TO END THE NEGLECT OF POVERTY-RELATED DISEASES’.
Nigeria accounts for over 40% of the burden of NTDs in Africa. Due to the deep-rooted poverty in the majority of the population, about 60 million Nigerians are at risk of contracting NTDs or already have untreated cases of at least one NTDs.
Since 2012, 31 countries have eliminated at least one NTD. Although, Nigeria has made significant progress, some implementation targets are yet to be reached or have only received suboptimal coverage.