Home NewsAfrica ‘Nigeria accounts for 25% of Africa’s neglected tropical diseases’

‘Nigeria accounts for 25% of Africa’s neglected tropical diseases’

by Haruna Gimba

By Asmau Ahmad

The Federal Government has said that Nigeria has about 25 per cent of all Neglected Tropical Diseases in Africa.

The FG made this known on Monday at a press briefing held in Abuja in commemoration of World NTDs Day.

The WNTDD is commemorated every January 30 to create awareness of the devastating impact of NTDs on the poorest populations around the world. 

The 2023 theme for the WNTDD is tagged “Act now. Act together. Invest in neglected tropical diseases.” 

NTDs are a diverse group of 20 conditions that are mainly prevalent in tropical areas, where they affect more than one billion people who live in impoverished communities.

NTDs are caused by a variety of pathogens including viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungi, and toxins. These diseases cause devastating health, social and economic consequences.

NTDs include diseases like Lymphatic Filariasis, Onchocerciasis, Schistosomiasis, Soil Transmitted Helminthes, Buruli Ulcers, Leishmaniasis, Dengue, Guinea Worm Disease, Trachoma, Leprosy, Rabies, Noma, Yaws, Mycetoma, snakebites.

Speaking at the briefing, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire said “Most NTDs are of public health importance, as they impact negatively on socio-economic development and affect an estimated one billion people worldwide, mostly tropical areas of low-income in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

“Nigeria has about 25 per cent of all NTDs in Africa, with millions of persons at risk: Lymphatic Filariasis-122 million, Onchocerciasis- 33 million, Schistosomiasis- 20.8 million, Soil-Transmitted Helminths- 29.4 million, Trachoma- 5.3 million and Human African Trypanosomiasis- 6.5 million people respectively.

“In the colonial era, the highest NTDs rates were in Egypt and Yemen, with a significant number also in Iran and Algeria. It is now accepted that addressing social determinants of health like Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene inadequacies are essential for NTD control and elimination. This must be promoted in Nigeria.”

The minister noted that epidemiological mapping of preventable NTDs has been conducted in all 774 Local Government Areas.

He said 106 of 126 Trachoma endemic LGAs are attaining the elimination threshold.

“The NTD Programme has managed 70 per cent of 200,000 persons in the backlog for trachoma surgeries.

“National Policy and Training Manuals on Snakebite management developed along with procurement of Anti-Snake venom, and Anti-rabies vaccines and distributed to designated Health Facilities in six geopolitical zones.”

Dr Ehanire also said 40 cases of yaws were conducted in three communities in Plateau and Nasarawa States. 

He added that further case searches are ongoing in Borno, Bauchi, Kebbi, and Taraba states.

“It is important to note that control and elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases in Nigeria will significantly contribute to the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” he said.

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