The Kaduna State Commissioner for health, Umma K Ahmed, has disclosed that over 5 million people in the State are at the risk of contacting tropical diseases such as river blindness and elephantiasis, among others.
Daily Sun gathered that the population of Kaduna State stands at over 10 million people.
Addressing a press conference on Tuesday to mark 2024 World Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) Day, the Commissioner said every 30th January has been set aside by the World Health Organization (WHO) to, “sensitise 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”.
She said, “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”.
Speaking about risk of NTDs in Kaduna State, the Commissioner said, “In Kaduna State, 5,970,722 people are at risk of River Blindness, lymphatic filariasis, bilharziasis, and intestinal worms.
“Over the years the country has been battling seriously to eliminate most of these tropical diseases using the following approaches; preventive chemotherapy by conducting Mass Administration of Medicines, Morbidity Management and Disability Prevention, Integrated Vector Control, Sound Sanitation, Hygiene practices with safe water supply, etc.
“Currently, we are charting a new course of community engagement for tackling NTDs for sustainability and ownership.
Kaduna State has been collaborating and working with all relevant stakeholders particularly Non-Governmental Development Organizations (NGDO) such as SIGHTSAVERS in long-standing support to tackle the menace of NTDs in Kaduna State.
“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. The “ONE” program targets 65- 80% of the population in endemic LGAs. More than 6,910,095 treatments were provided, and 52 hydrocele patients and 14 trachoma trichiasis patients received care.
“834 healthcare workers were trained on NTD screening and management, 3,502 teachers, and 10,249 Community Directed Distributors (CDDs) were trained to distribute medicines within their community in 2023. In addition, two Surgeons were trained as state master trainers to ensure quality during Hydrocele surgeries across the state.
“In addition, the Programme has successfully transitioned from paper-based reporting to electronic reporting using NTD DHIS 2.0.s. This has helped program monitoring and reporting and made it easy for decision-making.
“The Programme also developed a strong collaborative mechanism/platform to address sanitation and hygiene issues, with special attention given to policy to end Open Defecation in Nigeria; A WASH-NTD integration landscape analysis has been completed to present a desk review of existing studies, campaigns, WASH and NTD Plans and gap analysis that underpin national WASH and NTD efforts to date.
“I wish to thank the development partners for their support and contributions towards NTD elimination efforts in Kaduna State.
“I wish to inform you all that Kaduna State is committed to scaling up interventions to meet the global target of leaving no one untouched and eliminating NTDs by 2030 and contributing to stronger health systems by enhancing capacity, bringing communities together, and contributing to universal health coverage.
“The World 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. The day will help us 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.” (Sun)