By Haruna Gimba
The Federal Government of Nigeria has called for collaboration among stakeholders towards eliminating blinding trachoma in Nigeria.
Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole made the call in Abuja at an occasion to celebrate the progress and collaborative efforts towards eliminating blinding trachoma in the country.
He said that trachoma was the leading cause of infectious blindness responsible for 1.2 million blind people worldwide.
The minister recalled that Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) are a diverse group of mainly 17 diseases that blight the lives of more than a billion people worldwide, noting that Nigeria currently focuses on 11 of the 17 WHO-listed diseases.
He said that the government has launched a robust and integrated multi-year national plan to control, eradicate and eliminate NTDs in Nigeria.
Professor Adewole described the strategy for the elimination of blinding trachoma endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as ‘safe strategy’.
He said that they include Component Surgery for blinding trichiasis, antibiotics for treatment of active disease, facial cleanliness and environmental improvement.
“Guided by the global vision of eliminating target NTDs by 2020, this plan has been revised and updated with support from the WHO. States have also developed and updated state-specific plans that will facilitate the determination of priority locations, identification of those most at risk, and efficient delivery of treatments in an integrated manner,” he said.
Adewole commended other development partners and donor agencies for collaborating with the ministry in the implementation of the national NTD master plan and consequently in the elimination and control of NTDs in Nigeria.