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Government: 5 Million People Are At Risk As River Blindness Strikes Kaduna

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Over five million people in Kaduna state are at risk of getting River Blindness, lymphatic filariasis, bilharziasis, and intestinal worms, the Kaduna State Government has alerted.

The State Commissioner for Health, Hajiya Umma K. Ahmad disclosed this at a press conference to commemorate the 2024 World Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD held at the health ministry in Kaduna on Tuesday.

She however said that the State government has been collaborating and working with all relevant stakeholders particularly Non-Governmental Development Organizations such as SIGHTSAVERS to tackle the menace of NTDs in the State.

“Currently Kaduna State government is charting a new course of community engagement to tackle Neglected Tropical Diseases for sustainable development,” she said.

She said over the years, the country has been battling seriously to eliminate the tropical diseases by taken various measures such as conducting Mass Administration of Medicines, Morbidity Management and Disability Prevention, Integrated Vector Control, Sound Sanitation, Hygiene practices with safe water supply, among others.

“Every 30th January has been set aside by the World Health Organization (WHO) to sensitize all Global communities on the burden of NTDs which affects more than 1 billion people across the globe with about 149 countries faced with these diseases and Africa bearing about half of the global burden.”

” Nigeria is the country with the second highest burden of NTDs in the world and also contributes the highest burden in Africa with more than 120 million of its people living at the risk of one neglected tropical disease or the other.”

“The World Neglected Tropical Disease NTD Day is an opportunity to re-energize the momentum to end the suffering from these 20 diseases that are caused by a variety of pathogens including viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungi, and toxins,” she said.

According to her, the day would help Government to focus on millions of people who have limited or no access to prevention, treatment, and care services.

“The recent rollout of the ten-year NTDs roadmap for the period of 2021-2030 by the WHO on the 28th of January 2021, which proposed ambitious targets and innovative approaches towards tackling NTDs, provides a clear blueprint and direction towards NTDs elimination globally.

“The plan promotes working across NTDs in an integrated manner to deliver programme objectives of interrupting and eliminating NTDs with emphasis on three significant approaches; moving from process to impact measuring for accountability, putting in place effective multi-sectoral approach/integration across NTDs, states ownership and political commitment for sustainability.

“I am particularly glad to report that substantial progress has been made over the decade as evidenced by the fact that we have been able to interrupt the transmission of Onchocerciasis in 16 LGAs and elimination of Trachoma in Kaduna State according to the Trachoma Prevalence Survey Report of 2023.

“Other achievements of the Ministry include; the annual deworming of school Aged Children and Mass Drugs Administration on Lymphatic Filariasis and Schistosomiasis across the 23 LGAs of the State among others.”

Credit: Vanguard

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