Nigeria has about 25 percent of all Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in Africa, with millions of persons at risk.
The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said this yesterday in Abuja during the commemoration of the World Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) Day, organised by the ministry in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO).
NTDs include lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, soil transmitted helminthes, buruli ulcers, leishmaniasis, dengue, guinea worm disease, trachoma, leprosy, rabies, noma, yaws, mycetoma and snakebites.
He said 122 million people were at risk of lymphatic filariasis, 33 million at risk of onchocerciasis, 20.8 million at risk of schistosomiasis, 29.4 million at risk of soil transmitted helminths, 5.3 million at risk of trachoma- and 6.5 million at risk of Human African Trypanosomiasis- respectively.
He said Nigeria was particularly interested in NTDs as they are a group of communicable and non-communicable diseases occurring mostly in isolated areas of developing countries with poor sanitation and nutritional status, unsafe water supply, substandard living conditions and low level of education.
He said though sufferers might be many, the diseases were still “neglected” because they were almost absent from the global health agenda and were associated with stigma and social exclusion. “Neglecting the population also helps perpetuate the cycle of poverty and limited access to professional opportunities”, he added.
Meanwhile, the WHO yesterday released a new progress report, entitled ‘Global Report on Neglected Tropical Diseases 2023’ which showed that the number of people requiring NTD interventions fell by 80 million between 2020 and 2021, with eight countries were certified or validated as having eliminated one NTD in 2022 alone.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said around the world, millions of people had been liberated from the burden of neglected tropical diseases “which keep people trapped in cycles of poverty and stigma.”
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