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FG Committed To Eliminating Tropical Disease In Nigeria- Minister

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Sen Adeleke Mamora

By Abujah Rachael

December 13, 2021

FG committed to eliminating tropical diseases in NigeriaMinister

The Federal Minister of Health says it is committed to eliminating Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in Nigeria.

The Minister of State for Health, Sen. Adeleke Mamora, gave the assurance on Monday in Abuja at a round table on eliminating NTDs in the country.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that progress is being made against neglected tropical diseases, a group of 20 diseases that debilitate, disfigure and kill.

About 43 countries have eliminated at least one NTD where 600 million people no longer require treatment.

Some of these diseases that have plagued humanity for centuries, such as sleeping sickness and Guinea worm disease, are now at an all-time low.

Mamora said it was vital that everyone worked continuously even in these challenging times.

He noted that NTDs could cause severe debilitating and lifelong physical and visual impairment, whereas they could be eliminated.

He said the ministry would ensure effective execution of NTD programmes, whilst guaranteeing that the best of the ministry’s team was deployed to the NTD unit in the Public Health department.

“This includes efficient data gathering, especially for IDM NTDs as well as adequate Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) at State, local government and ward/grassroots levels, because this is where the work really needs to be done.

“In addition, the ministry will ensure that medical commodities, including drugs donated, are immediately distributed to the last mile where persons who need them can have access to the items,” he added.

Sen. Ibrahim Oloriegbe, Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, said the meeting preceded the “100 per cent Committed Campaign” scheduled to kick off in Nigeria in January 2022.

He added that President Muhammadu Buahari was expected to join other world leaders in endorsing the Kigali Declaration on NTDs as part of the events to mark the World NTD Day and to commemorate ten years of the London Declaration on NTDs.

Oloriegbe, the Chairman of the National Task Team, said the prevalence of NTDs in the country was not new and it was important that Nigerians were involved in efforts to eliminate the diseases in the country.

“It is now time for us to have improved coordination of the efforts at the various levels aimed at eliminating NTDs in Nigeria.

“This will be by increasing oversight on the implementation of NTD programmes and more importantly accelerating the interventions aimed at eliminating the diseases.

“It is also no longer news that NTDs’ are indeed ‘neglected,’ not just globally but within Nigeria.

“It is time to reverse this trend and pay more attention to the alleviation of the sufferings encountered by people affected by NTDs,” he said.

The chairman House Committee on health added that medical commodities for NTDs expiring at the ministry’s warehouses would no longer be acceptable.

He stressed that must be commitment to developing national strategic plans for NTD, which must be implemented.

“Developmental partners must continue to ensure that their support for Nigeria, being the second highest burden country for NTDs, is sustained,

to move Nigeria from second highest burden to being the last in the next five years.

“Partners also have a duty to report any anomaly or challenges noticed in their line of duty to the national task team on NTDs or directly to my office, as the Chair of the National Task Team.

“We need the organised private sector and corporate organisations to mobilise members to urgently contribute towards this elimination drive.

“NTDs affect the quality of life of the citizens and often times cause severe disabilities,” he added.

He said economic modeling undertaken by The Economist intelligence unit showed the productivity gains that could be achieved across five African countries from the elimination of just two NTDs.

He added that it showed that Ethiopia and Kenya could add 3.2 billion dollars and 1.3 billion dollars to their economies respectively.

“Given that Nigeria’s NTD burden is higher than both these countries, the expected economic gains through reaching the WHO targets would be substantial,” he added.

Senator representing Lagos Central, Sen. Oluremi Tinubu, said the elimination of NTDs would help improve the productive capabilities of people living with NTDs.

She said it would also improve the wellbeing of those at risk of these diseases, and that this could help sustain economic growth in the country.

Tinubu urged the ministry to put in more work towards eliminating NTDs in the country.

NAN also reports that without countries embracing international targets, translating them into national strategies and then delivering on these, progress would not have been possible.

It’s essential that countries continue to lead on and take ownership of ending NTDs to ensure tangible results are achieved. (NAN)