Nigeria has about 25% of all NTDs in Africa — Ehanire

The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, stated on Monday that Nigeria has approximately 25% of all Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in Africa.

The minister stated this during a ministerial press briefing in Abuja to mark the 2023 World Neglected Tropical Disease Day, noting that during the colonial era, Egypt and Yemen had the highest NTD rates, with a significant number also in Iran and Algeria.

He said that the country was especially interested in Neglected Tropical Diseases because they are a group of communicable and noncommunicable diseases that primarily occur in isolated areas of developing countries with poor sanitation and nutritional status, unsafe water supply, substandard living conditions, and a low level of education.

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“Nigeria has about 25% 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 NTD 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 (WASH) inadequacies is essential for NTD control and elimination. This must be promoted in Nigeria.

“The significance of the World NTD Day is to renew global and national awareness of the magnitude of NTDs and also present opportunities to highlight progress made, challenges met, policy direction and advocate support for prevention, control, and elimination efforts.

“The NTD also re-energizes the momentum to end the suffering from these 20 diseases, caused by a variety of pathogens, viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungi and toxins etc.

“We shall focus on the millions of people with little or no access to prevention, treatment and care, in the rollout of the 10-year NTD road map for 2021-2030 by World Health Organization (WHO) on 28th of January 2021, proposed ambitious targets and the innovative approaches to tackle NTDs and provide blueprint and direction to global elimination.

“Nigeria is particularly interested in Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), because 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.

 

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